Andre Greipel made it two Giro d'Italia stage victories in the same year for the first time in his career as he completed a third consecutive win for Lotto-Soudal on stage seven.
Greipel triumphed on stage five to maintain his run of having managed a stage victory in every Grand Tour he has entered since 2007 and, after team-mate Tim Wellens won stage six on Thursday, it was the German who once again crossed the line first following the 210-kilometre ride from Sulmona to Foligno.
The 33-year-old, who collected the red points jersey, looked to be struggling as the stage reached its climax, but produced a stunning sprint finish to cross the line ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), while Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) preserved his 26-second lead over Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) in the general classification.
"It was a hard day, a really hard day," Greipel told reporters. "There was a strong break up front but my team did an amazing job again.
"They killed themselves to bring the race back together. We hit the front early and but I was happy to find a gap, get through and win."
Explaining his finish to Eurosport, Greipel added: "I was looking for a wheel to follow, I thought it was going to be too late but luckily I found a way through.
"I still had good power left so I was looking for a gap and Modolo stayed on his line so I found the gap and launched my sprint.
"Before this we were already happy with the Giro so far and now we have three of the seven stages, so it has been amazing."
Lotto Soudal's treble is the first time a team has won three Grand Tour stages in a row since Movistar at the 2013 Giro.