Giro d'Italia 2020: Stage Seven Race Recap

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Nabbing his third win in just seven stages of racing in the 2020 Giro d’Italia, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) further solidified his grip on the sprinter’s jersey. The French national champion was set up in perfect position for the final straight by his lead-out and held off a charging Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) who was glued to his wheel after 143 kilometers of racing. “I waited a bit, there was a three-quarter-head wind,” explained the Frenchman. “I felt Sagan was there, ready to pass me by, but I knew how to keep it on the pedals.” Stage 7 proved to be the fastest contested in Giro history, with an average speed of 49.4kph (30.7mph). Sagan, who lost his position in the final 400m of stage 6 through a series of 90 degree turns stayed on Démare’s wheel and was escorted through a similarly challenging gauntlet of lefts and rights from 4km to 1km to go in stage 7. While Cofidis was trying to line up Elia Viviani to contest the sprint, Démare and Sagan rocketed way from the rest of the bunch. A crash in the main bunch at 75km to go, gapped Ilnur Zakarin (Jumbo-Visma), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling), Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Thomas DeGendt (Lotto-Soudal), Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), and others. While this strong group tried to catch back onto the main group, winds and the speed of the peloton eventually forced the gruppetto to concede the chase. As a result of a crash, Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) was forced to abandon the race with a fractured left wrist. While the skies were clear, winds played a part in blowing up the group, and several times in the final 50km riders were single-file, and then bunched together in echelons. As the flat kilometers ticked away, Deceuninck-Quick-Step came to the front to keep overall race leader João Almeida safe, while Groupama-FDJ did the same for Démare, which also established their intent to set up their sprinter to be in position for another win. Entering 15km to go, roads narrowed and the main group came back together, preparing for the technical parcours ahead. From just inside of 4km, speeds were in excess of 50kph for four 90-degree turns. Coming out of the final turn with little more than 1.2km to go, Démare was dropped off, with three times world champion Sagan on his wheel. While most of the remaining group moved left, with several riders bumping shoulders to establish and maintain position, the two sprinters moved to the right side of the road in the final drag. Sagan appeared to try to come around Démare in the final 150m, but could not find the power to come around Démare, who momentarily appeared to “close the door” on Sagan to the left, but then course-corrected to come straight through the line for his third win in a week, and his second consecutive win in the 2020 Giro. Démare, commenting on the stage win said, “It was a big day, a very fast, nervous stage, cause of edges, falls. We won with authority, we showed a collective strength and we have been able to adapt.”

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