UAE Team Emirates’ Jan Polanc was the first rider from the peloton to crest the only categorised climb of the day during stage seven of the Giro d’Italia.
The Polish rider will defend the maglia azzurra (the blue jersey) once more in stage eight after extending his overall lead in the mountains classification.
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won stage seven after a three-up sprint whilst Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floor) continues to lead in the general classification.
Stage eight begins in Molfetta and ends 189 km later in the tourist town of Peschici with a steep uphill finish. For the climbers, there is a category 2 (Mt. Saint Angelo) and category 4 (Coppa Santa Tecla) climb after 84km of relatively flat riding alongside the Adriatic Sea.
Mountains Classification after Stage Six
1 Cannondale 85h 03′ 15”
2 UAE Team Emirates +5”
3 Movistar +32”
General Classification after Stage Seven:
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 33:56:07
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky +10
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
17 Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) +46s
Abu Dhabi-based cyclist Roisin Thomas covered a gruelling 472 kilometres across the seven emirates of the UAE in 14 hours 43 minutes on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old is the first women to cycle around the seven emirates having completed the challenge in 2016.
Starting at 5am in Abu Dhabi, Thomas cycled through Dubai, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Ras Al Kahimah and Sharjah, before finishing up in Nad Al Sheba at 2am on Thursday morning.
From intense heat on the Old Hatta Road to some rain in Fujairah, the cycle across the seven emirates offered everything for Thomas and her strong team of four riders.
“It was fantastic. I’m really happy with the response and support we’ve had. The camaraderie among the group was brilliant and it was really enjoyable all the way through,” Thomas told Sport360.
“We were always ahead of schedule. At 12 when the sun was at its highest point, we were on the Old Hatta Road. We had to make one unplanned trip under a tunnel to get shade because it was really hot.”
In Dibba Al Fujairah, a surprise visitor joined the group in UAE national champion Abdullah Al Falasi, who was out training at the same time.
One of the highlights of the journey for Thomas was the beautiful scenery on the stretch from Dibba Al Fujairah to Umm Al Quwain.
“You are climbing and then when you reach the top you can see the sun setting over the bay. It was really perfect,” added Thomas.
Of course, the most special feeling of the day was when they edged closer to the finish line at Nad Al Sheba after over 14 hours on the bike.
“When everyone saw the Meydan Road come into view, that feeling was really special. I like the feeling of everyone around you feeling positive. That feeling of ‘we did it, and we are all fit and well and still smiling’,” she said.
The other riders supporting Roisin were Raslan Abbadi of Jordan, Ahmed Al Haj of UAE, Andrew Laity of England and Rener Kabayan of the Philippines.
Thomas’ attention now turns to the National Championships in Ireland in June and the UCI World Championships in France in August.
Silvan Dillier was in disbelief after bouncing back from a puncture to cap a 200km breakaway with the biggest win of his career in a thrilling Giro d’Italia sixth stage on Thursday.
BMC’s Dillier suffered a flat tyre in the opening metres of an undulating 217km ride from Reggio di Calabria to Terme Luigiane, the first first stage of the 100th Giro edition held on the Italian mainland.
But, with a stage win on his mind, the 26-year-old Swiss chased back on, fought to help a five-man breakaway escape the peloton and, in a thrilling duel with Jasper Stuyven, prevailed in the drive to an uphill finish line that proved slightly too steep for the Belgian.
Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels retained the race leader’s pink jersey after finishing eighth, 39secs behind the frontrunners, to maintain his six-second lead on Sky’s Geraint Thomas.
It meant plenty of stage victory hopefuls were left disappointed after a routine day in the saddle turned into a desperate chase.
Dillier, Stuyven, Trek teammate Mads Pedersen, Austrian Lukas Postlberger and Italian Simone Andreetta raced to a lead of nearly nine minutes at one stage.
That was cut to five and a half minutes with 100km to race but a lack of collaboration in the chase meant the frontrunners were still nearly three minutes in front 10km from the finish.
As they headed for a technical finish featuring a series of small climbs, descents and tight hairpin bends, Pedersen peeled off, his legs no longer able to maintain the unrelenting pace.
But Stuyven, who claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage win at the Vuelta a Espana last year, remained defiant, launching an attack nearly six kilometres out that proved fatal to Andreetta’s bid to hand Italy their maiden win of the 100th edition.
Stuyven and Dillier then dropped Postlberger in the final 300 metres, but the Belgian was left agonisingly short as Dillier proved strongest to the line.
Postlberger, who claimed victory in the opening stage in Olbia, Sardinia with an audacious attack that stunned the peloton in the final kilometre, said: “I wanted to attack in the uphill section, but after 200 kilometres of a breakaway, I didn’t know how my legs would be.”
At 224km, Friday’s seventh stage from Castrovillari to Alberobello is the longest of the race.