Davide Bais gives victory to Eolo-Kometa in the 7th stage of the Giro d'Italia
Disappointing attitude of the favorites for the final victory of the Giro d'Italia in the first final of entity with the ascent to the Gran Sasso d'Italia and in which none of them showed their cards, waiting for what the great stage against the clock next Sunday may bring. The victory went to the escapees of the day, a tremendous booty for Davide Bais and Eolo-Kometa that fully justifies their presence in the Giro d'Italia 2023.
Favorites skip first major stage finish of the Giro
First big mountain stage in the Giro 2023 with the arrival at the Gran Sasso d'Italia after a marathon stage of 218 kilometers on a day that again dawned with unpleasant weather and, in fact, the riders did not escape the rain at some points of the day.
A stage in which the peloton was again dedicated to speculate in a day that, in theory, was expected to have been more fought between those second swords that have to look for other types of movements. However, once again, we found a breakaway of modest riders, specifically Davide Bais (Eolo Kometa), Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) and Henok Mulubrhan (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizané) to whom the peloton let them reach more than 12 minutes.
Behind, the task of control fell to the team of leader Andreas Leknessund. Team DSM was at the head of the peloton for almost the entire day but without any intention of making the race tense, but on the contrary, looking for the maglia rosa to have the least possible wear to try to save the stage and hold that privileged position at least until next Sunday's time trial.
In fact, as the kilometers went by and after the other mountainous difficulty of the day, Roccarasso, categorized as 2nd class, the escapees continued to increase the gap at some points, which made it clearer and clearer that the stage victory could be disputed among the three surviving escapees, as the Bardiani rider gave way at the first summit.
In any case, the climb to Gran Sasso is not particularly selective despite its 26 km in length, but with very low percentages and where only the last 4 are selective. A pass that is linked, with hardly any descent after the 13 km of climb at 6% of the Calascio pass, which means that the last 39 km of the stage are almost uninterrupted ascent.
The first climb of the final chain stage did not change the panorama, with the escapees maintaining more than 8 minutes. It was with just over 10 kilometers to go when Soudal-QuickStep finally took command of the peloton and set a more demanding pace that began to clearly reduce the gap, although it still remained at just over 6 minutes. In any case, the wide meadows that characterize this mountainous area together with a significant headwind threatened to spoil the party. In fact, despite the extra pace of the Belgian team, there were still a good number of riders in the peloton.
With 6 km to go the escapees already saw their chances of victory quite clear so it's time to start planning the tactics. Hostilities began with Petilli's attack, a move more to see the faces than anything else and to which Davide Bais responded easily, with a little more effort from Vacek.
Meanwhile, the mountain and the plateau through which the race ran allowed us to enjoy a tremendous picture with the remains of the winter snows still present when the road was already approaching the 2,000 m elevation, that line that marks where the performance begins to decline sharply and sometimes provides some surprise, especially given the length of the stage and being the first port of real entity that climbed the race.
Starting the final 4 hard kilometers Petilli again accelerated the pace and only Bais was clearly following him with a Vacek who tried to hold on making the rubber. An area where the slopes rose up to 8-9% with a road flanked by snow walls and completely bare asphalt. In the end, despite the scarps, the three escapees arrived together in the final meters. Petilli launched the sprint, Davide Bais took the easy wheel, overtook him and opened a sufficient gap in the last hectometer to give the stage victory to Eolo-Kometa in what is also the first professional victory of the Italian.
Behind, a regrettable situation with absolutely no movement among the favorites, not even to scrape a second, which means that Andreas Leknessund can keep the pink jersey for another day without the slightest problem.
Stage 7 Classification
- Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa) 6h08’40’’
- Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) +09’’
- Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) +16’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +3’10’’
- Primoz Rogliz (Jumbo-Visma) +3’10’’
- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +3’10’’
- Thomas Champion (Cofidis) +3’10’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +3’10’’
- Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) +3’10’’
- Christian Scaroni (Astana Qazaqstan) +3’10’’