Giro d'Italia 2014: Nacer Bouhanni snatches narrow stage win


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The Independent Online

Nacer Bouhanni of France sprinted to victory on the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia, while Michael Matthews retained the overall leader's pink jersey.

Bouhanni, who had never won a Grand Tour stage before this year's Giro, edged out Giacomo Nizzolo by less than half a wheel for his second victory in four days.

Luka Mezgec was third, just ahead of Matthews, on another lengthy leg that had two categorised climbs along the 131 miles from Frosinone to Foligno.

Matthews will wear the pink jersey for a sixth day, with the Australian maintaining his 21-second lead over compatriot Cadel Evans. Rigoberto Uran of Colombia remained third.

Five riders escaped close to the summit of the first climb. The early break of Robinson Chalapud, Nathan Haas, Winner Anacona, Bjorn Thurau and Nicola Boem built up a lead of nine minutes.

That lead still stood at five minutes going up the final ascent and it appeared as if the others had left it too late to catch up.

However, the peloton increased its pace and began chasing furiously on the final descent as the gap began to drop dramatically. The breakaway riders were caught on the fast run-in to Foligno, 1.9 miles from the finish.

This year's Giro honours the 10th anniversary of Marco Pantani's death, and Saturday's stage from Foligno to Montecopiolo will include the Carpegna climb where the Italian, who won both the Giro and Tour de France in 1998, used to train.