Davide Bais wins Giro d'Italia stage seven from break, as stalemate rules for general classification riders
Davide Bais (EOLO-Kometa) sprinted to victory atop Gran Sasso d'Italia on stage seven of the Giro d'Italia. The Italian was the winner from a three-man break which rode alone for over 200km.
The 25-year-old punched at the right time, accelerating past Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) in the final few hundred metres. It is the first victory of his career.
Behind, the general classification hopefuls declined to put in any serious attacks, with the likes of Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) keeping their powder dry.
Despite the ease with which the break established, extended, and kept its lead over the hardly chasing peloton, it is still an impressive result for Bais, who could not have dreamed of such a result on a day that was marked as one for the GC guys.
"Finally, it’s the first win for me," Bais said. "At the start of the stage I didn't give myself a chance of victory.
"I only went in the break to pick-up some mountains points and be up here for [Lorenzo] Fortunato, our GC rider. Then when we got away and realised we could go all the way to the finish, I focused on saving as much energy as I could to do then give it everything in the finale.
"I still can’t understand what I’ve done. This is my first pro win and it’s incredible. I want tov dedicate it to our teammate Arturo Grávalos who is fighting a major problem. It’s also for my family and all the team."
The break was established very early in the stage with a fourth member, Henok Mulubhran (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), but few would have thought it would last to the finish. The doubters included Mulubhran, who dropped back after the first categorised climb.
However, the remaining trio worked well together, maintained their gap - which was 12 minutes at times, but dropped to three by the finish - and held on to fight for victory among themselves.
DSM were the only team riding on the front for much of the day, controlling the race for their maglia rosa wearer Andreas Leknessund.
Even when the road started to climb, there were no moves in the peloton, with the headwind meaning teams were happy to just sit back and move onto the next day. Hardly what the race organisers would have expected on a mountain-top finish stage.
It took until the final few hundred metres for anything to happen, with Eddie Dunbar (Jayco AlUla) launching a sprint to see if any gaps could be created, but he was followed by Evenepoel and Roglič and the rest. Evenepoel and Roglič crossed the line in fourth and fifth, respectively, but three minutes behind Bais.
Bais' brother Mattia, two years his senior, is also on the EOLO-Kometa squad at the Giro, and will be joining in the party tonight.
"I didn’t really expect it," he said. "I knew that he was good, he looked good. He went away, I saw there was 12 minutes, and I knew they’d do it. That’s when I hoped he’d be able to take the victory. Of course it wasn’t a given, but still.
"I knew he was one of the strongest, I don’t know how it went at the finish but I knew my brother had a chance. I started partying before I even finished."
The only thing to change on Friday, apart from Bais' career wins ticking over from zero to one was the wearer of the blue mountains jersey - thanks to the bonus points awarded on a summit finish, the Italian now leads the classification in front of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
GIRO D'ITALIA 2023 STAGE seven RESULTS (Capua > Gran Sasso d'Italia):
Davide Bais (Ita) Eolo-Kometa, in 6-08-40
Karel Vacek (Cze) Corratec Selle Italia, at 9s
Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, at 16s
Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Jayco AlUla
Christian Scaroni (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan, all at 3-10
General classification after stage seven
Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM, in 29-02-38
Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal-Quick Step, at 28s
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën, at 30s
João Almeida (Por) UAE-Team Emirates, at 1-00
Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-12
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-26
Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-hansgrohe, at same time
Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-30
Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-54
Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, at 1-59