Ewan edges Gaviria and Bennett in thrilling Giro finish

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Caleb Ewan claimed the tightest of victories in the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia, edging out Fernando Gaviria and Sam Bennett on the line as Bob Jungels kept the Maglia Rosa.

The longest stage of the race provided little in the way of drama for much of the 224-kilometre ride from Castrovillari to Alberobello, which consisted of just one categorised climb.

Dmitriy Kozontchuk and Giuseppe Fonzi did the hard work at the front in a two-man break after Simone Ponzi was dropped because of a mechanical failure.

But that duo never had a hope of making the break stick and were predictably caught, Kristijan Koren's attack with under five kilometres left also proving in vain.

That led to a thrilling sprint in which Ewan proved to have just enough to win for Orica-Scott despite a stunning late charge from Gaviria.

Ewan's success marked his first at the Giro and only his second in a Grand Tour event - having won the fifth stage at the 2015 Vuelta a Espana.

"It's been a little bit difficult for us in the first part of the Giro d'Italia. I came close and the guys worked really hard, so I'm happy to finally win," Ewan said.

"It was a really close sprint. I had to do some work with three kilometres to go so I was a little tired for the sprint. But Luka [Mezgec] did a great lead out, so it was perfect."

 

GOOD DAY/BAD DAY

Though his remarkable late attack did not pay full dividends, Quick-Step Floors rider Gaviria was able to substantially increase his lead in the points classification by taking second, with closest challenge Jasper Stuyven only fifth on the day. Colombian Gaviria now leads the race for the mauve jersey by 31 points, having held just a three-point advantage after stage six.

There was more agony for Bora-Hansgrohe's Bennett, though, the Irish rider settling for third for the second time, having been denied victory by Gaviria in stage five.

STAGE RESULTS

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) 5:35:18
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal)
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) 33:56:07
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0.06s
Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) +0.10s

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 191
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) 160
Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) 129

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) 44
Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data) 23
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha Alpecin) 18

UP NEXT...

Molfetta hosts the start of a stage for the first time in Giro history as a 189km ride to Peschici makes up stage eight.

There is a categorised climb at Monte Sant'Angelo and a King of the Mountains ascent up Coppa Santa Tecla as well as an intermediate sprint before a closing climb with several sharp bends.