CAMPO IMPERATORE, Italy — The first mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia ended without any changes to the top of the overall standings.
The leaders all crossed together amid big banks of snow, three minutes behind a group of three breakaway riders.
Norwegian rider Andreas Leknessund therefore held on to the pink jersey, while pre-race favorites Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic remained second and fifth overall, respectively.
Italian rider Davide Bais won Stage 7 when he attacked the other two breakaway riders with 150 meters to go. It was the first professional victory for Bais, who rides for the Eolo-Kometa team founded by former Giro champions Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso.
“It was unexpected because I went into the breakaway to prepare for an attack by Lorenzo Fortunato,” Bais said. “He was the inspiration for our team to go for a mountain stage victory since he made it at Monte Zoncolan two years ago. In the finale, I knew I was the fastest so I waited for my opportunity to make the last push.”
Karel Vacek crossed second, nine seconds behind, and Simone Petilli came third, 16 seconds behind.
The 135-mile route from Capua ended with what appeared to be a daunting top-category climb on the Gran Sasso d’Italia to Campo Imperatore in the central region of Abruzzo.
But the main pack rode at a slow pace virtually the entire way.
The main pack finished 3:10 behind Bais, with Evenepoel crossing fourth in the stage and Roglic fifth after a brief sprint
Evenepoel remained 28 seconds behind Leknessund, with Roglic 1:12 back in fifth.
“It was hard to climb up here,” Leknessund said. “But we controlled the situation. I was expecting some attacks that never happened because there was a headwind.”
Stage 8 is an undulating 129-mile leg from Terni to Fossombrone featuring a few minor climbs.
Then there’s an individual time trial.
The race ends in Rome on May 28.