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It was a flat, relatively uneventful stage at the Giro d’Italia, with an unexpected finish. We have Giro storylines, a pile of tech news, and a hilarious video of riders in a helicopter. Read on.
Dispatches from the Giro d’Italia
Bennett wins stage 7 of Giro d’Italia
Sam Bennett has long been chasing his first Grand Tour stage win, and finally got it. The Bora-hansgrohe rider tracked double stage winner Elia Viviani (QuickStep Floors) in the closing kilometres, then blasted past the Italian inside the final 50 metres to win the Giro’s 7th stage.
Bennett’s overwhelming emotion? Relief.
“I feel relieved. I’ve been so close so many times in the Giro,” said Bennett. No surprise there, as he was second, third, third and third on stages last year and twice third in this edition. “To really get the timing right was key with so many fast sprinters here. It is not easy to beat Viviani. He really knows what he is doing. But I think my time came…at one point I thought it would never come.”
Maglia rosa no surprise for Yates
A confident Simon Yates didn’t surprise himself by snagging the pink jersey on Mt. Etna. “No, no, because I’ve been working so hard towards this,” he said. “It has been my goal from the beginning of the year, and I have arrived in super shape. So for me, it wasn’t a surprise to have good legs.
“We started the tour looking to win. Nothing has changed. There are still many difficult stages to come, and we still have the time trial, where I could lose a massive chunk of time there. So we will see. It is a bit of a cliché, but we will take it day by day.”
Yates may be in the lead, but Mitchelton-Scott is still running its dual-leader strategy. “[Chaves] is only a couple of seconds behind me. It is still close,” Yates said. “I don’t really like to have this label of leader and captain. We came here as a team to win. We have done great up till now, and I think we will just continue as we are.”
Poll: The most surprising things from the Giro’s 7th stage
Tomorrow’s Giro stage
Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano, 209km.
A pair of medium mountain stages lies ahead. The first, stage 8, appears primed for a successful breakaway. It’s lumpy early on and though it is a mountain-top finish, the final climb is not particularly difficult. One stretch at 10% early on is the anomaly; the average gradient sits near 5%. That means the GC men are unlikely to light it up, and a break is more likely to succeed.
Story of the day:
It’s an expression — a multifaceted verb that can be used in many different circumstances, such as “yacking it across to the breakaway.”
Or so says Simon Jones, who is providing clarification to the term he’s coined this week, to the amusement of his Texas Roadhouse teammates. As he does, the 18-year-old’s voice cracks and his teammates pounce. The jokes flow off their tongues with ease and there’s no shortage of laughter. Many of his teammates are married and have been on the domestic criterium scene for years. Jones, who’s still in high school, is an easy target. In addition to being a strong racer, it helps to have thick skin around this group.
Click through for more from the American crit scene.
MPCC signs up individual pro riders
The anti-doping MPCC group has long included WorldTour, Pro Continental and Continental teams amongst its members, but now it has gained further momentum by signing individual pro riders. More than 175 have signed up to the organisation, thus embracing its code of ethics and voluntary conditions of membership.
The individual membership includes riders who are already aligned via their pro teams but gives each individual a chance to make their commitment more personal. It also gives scope for those whose teams are not signed up to be part of the MPCC. One of those in this position is David Lopez, who is the sole representative from Team Sky. The squad has itself declined all opportunities to join.
See more here.
Grafton to Inverell to be streamed live
Here’s some great news for fans of Australia’s National Road Series (NRS): the first event of the 2018 men’s series, the brutal Grafton to Inverell, will be streamed live this Saturday. Now in its 58th edition, the Grafton to Inverell is regarded as Australia’s toughest one-day race thanks to its 228km length and nearly 3,400m of climbing.
One notable absence from this year’s Giro d’Italia is the Aqua Blue Sport team, which is unfortunate from a tech perspective because it means we’ll have to wait a little longer to see how the single-chainring drivetrain on the squad’s intriguing 3T Strada Team 1x-specific and disc-equipped aero road bikes fares in a Grand Tour.
For those of you who are already fans of the idea, though, the original Strada Team model is now being supplemented by the new Strada Pro, which is built with the same hyper-progressive shape, but a less-expensive carbon blend, for a 130g weight penalty and a big savings in the pocketbook.
Whereas the Strada Team frameset alone sells for US$3,800, the new Strada Pro costs US$4,990 / €4,990 in complete form, built with a SRAM Force 1 groupset, 3T Discus C35 Pro alloy wheels, a 3T Aeronova bar, and a San Marco Aspide saddle. For more information — or to buy one — visit 3t.bike.
Race the virtual Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California is starting soon, and fans can “race” along at home on Zwift, with seven virtual stages held May 13-19. Rides will roll out every hour, on the hour, and if you complete all seven, you’ll tally up 186km of distance and 1,802m of climbing. Stage finishers will receive a 2018 Amgen Tour of California kit (for your Zwift avatar, not you), and there will also be real-life prizes awarded as well. More information can be found at zwift.com.
GUTR Flex sweatband
If you’re actually planning to spend mid-May pedalling nowhere in your garage or basement, keep in mind that you’re likely going to be sweating — a lot. Keep that perspiration off of your face (and out of your eyes) with the new GUTR Flex sweatband. As the name suggests, the GUTR Flex’s molded silicone rubber strip channels sweat off to the sides of your head, and it can be worn beneath most cycling helmets. Retail cost is US$20.
We know, we know, it sounds ridiculous. But having used the original GUTR in the past, we can also confidently attest that it works as advertised. More information can be found here.
Mitchelton-Scott’s star day
A look back at stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia, where Mitchelton-Scott had perhaps the best day in its history.
The hand-holding and nervous laughing suggests at least one member of the team is scared of flying…
Happy birthday to…
14 time Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel, Grand Tour participation king Adam Hansen and former Milan San Remo winner Gabriele Colombo.