Pello Bilbao breaks clear to win stage 7 at the Giro d’Italia


Pello Bilbao shook off the other survivors of a long breakaway in the final kilometre into l’Aquila to win Friday’s seventh stage at the Giro d’Italia.

The victory lifted the Astana rider a second ahead of Primoz Roglic just outside the top 10 of the general standings.

“It was a really important day for me to day,” Bilbao said. “It’s a long time to claim my first victory in a three-week race,” he added.

Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) kept the pink jersey although it was briefly threatened by Jose Rojas (Movistar) who was part of the breakaway.

Even though Conti’s team-mates Jan Polanc and Diego Ulissi worked hard at the front of the peloton, when the gap reached two minutes with 30 kilometres to go, Rojas was in the overall lead on the road. But the relentless pursuit trimmed the gap in the final kilometres. Rojas moved up to second, 1min 32sec behind Conti.

“It was a hard stage, and I was very tired from yesterday,” Conti said. “I said to myself, ‘Come on, you’re strong,’ and the team helped me through.”

Even though the gap shrunk, the overall leaders stayed away. Bilbao, who had been helped during the breakaway by Astana team-mate Andrey Zeits, slipped away before the end.

“The final kilometre was a long one,” Bilbao said. “I didn’t want to go too hard. I saw I had a five-seconds lead, which is a good lead. I saved something for the final hundred metres, and I had time to celebrate.”

Bilbao completed the hilly 180km stage at an average speed of more than 45 kilometres. The hungry pursuit by the peloton meant that for all the finishers the pace was high all day, a sharp contrast to the 233km stage on Thursday when the pack took a day off.

“It was racing, racing, racing for two hours,” said Victor Campenaerts. “Then it was keeping the breakaway to a two-minute gap. Yesterday was really long and easy,” he added.

Roglic’s prospects suffered a blow when Jumbo-Visma team-mate Laurens De Plus, slated to be the Slovenian’s main helper in the Alps, withdrew.

Saturday’s stage from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro along the Italian west coast is the longest in this year’s race at 239km.

Giro d’Italia 2019 – stage 7 results (Vasto – L’Aquila):

1Pello Bilbao (Astana)


2Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


3Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe)


4Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott)


5Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)


6José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)


7Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos)


8Antonio Pedrero (Movistar)


9Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ)


10Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)


11Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Soudal)


12Enrico Battaglin (Katusha-Alpecin)


13Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)


14Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


15Jan Bakelants (Team Sunweb)


16Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


17Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)


18Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


19Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


20Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)



Giro d’Italia 2019 – general classification after stage 7:

1Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates)


2José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)


3Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF)


4Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale)


5Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ)


6Amaro Antunes (CCC)


7Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)


8Pieter Serry (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


9Andrey Amador (Movistar)


10Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb)


11Pello Bilbao (Astana)


12Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)


13Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe)


14Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


15Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


16Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)


17Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


18Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


19Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)


20Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)



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