Friday the thirteenth brought a lot of luck to Lotto Soudal as the Belgian cycling team obtained a third stage win in a row in the Giro d’Italia today. André Greipel was the fastest in the seventh stage. He won in a stunning way against Giacomo Nizzolo and Sacha Modolo. It’s the second victory for the Gorilla in this Grand Tour. Greipel is also the new leader in the points classification because of this win.
The speed was very high right from the beginning of the stage. Three riders managed to get away but after the first climb they were already caught by the first part of the peloton, which had been split in three groups. Tim Wellens obtained four points on the summit of that climb and therefore he’s the new leader in the KOM classification. The break of the day was eventually formed, six riders stayed in front for a long time. In the meantime, the three groups in the peloton rejoined and the race eased up. Stefan Küng, the only escapee left, was caught at seven kilometres from the finish as the peloton prepared itself for a mass sprint. The whole team positioned Greipel very well at the front of the peloton and the German won the sprint in a very nice way. It’s the third consecutive victory for Lotto Soudal in this Giro, an incredible performance of the entire team.
André Greipel: “After several kilometres, I thought that we would ride with a Grupetto to the finish. The peloton split in three on the first climb and it seemed that the first group had gone clear. But the race eased up as the six escapees got away from that first peloton so the groups came back together. After that, Jelle Vanendert and Pim Ligthart did a great job to control the gap together with the riders of FDJ. There were a few very good riders present in the front group, including Küng. Then, it would depend on how we would survive the final climb. The pace was very high during the final kilometres before the summit, but we had to make sure that the gap wasn’t too big after that climb as the final 40 kilometres of the stage went slightly downhill. Tim Wellens made a great effort by closing the gap to the escapees. After that, Adam, Lars, Sean and Jürgen positioned me really well. It was a tricky finale which contained some dangerous roads; therefore it was extremely important to be at the front of the peloton. I really gave my all in the sprint and that resulted in another victory for the team.”