Caleb Ewan doubled up with victory on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia as Attila Valter retained the pink jersey, while Britain’s Hugh Carthy survived a late scare at the finish in Termoli.
Carthy finished more than two minutes after Ewan, having been seen riding up the short climb near the finish with a broken saddle while in conversation with a race director’s car, and initial results showed him tumbling from sixth to 21st in the overall standings.
But, with the incident coming inside the final three kilometres, the EF Education Nippo rider was subsequently awarded the same time as the main peloton to retain his position.
Up ahead, Ewan bided his time as Fernando Gaviria opened up the sprint, coming past the Colombian and holding off Davide Cimolai and Tim Merlier to add to Wednesday’s win in Cattolica and bring up 50 for his career.
Valter retains an 11-second lead over Remco Evenepoel, with Egan Bernal a further five seconds back in third. Carthy remains 38 seconds off pink, with fellow Lancastrian Simon Yates in 10th, 49 seconds down and two behind Irishman Dan Martin.
Manx rider Mark Christian of the EOLA-Kometa team had been part of a three-man breakaway who animated the 181km stage from Notaresco, though they knew they had no real chance of victory on a relatively routine transition stage to the coast.
A tight technical finish led into a steep climb up to the flamme rouge, with Ewan’s team-mate Jasper De Buyst guiding the Australian into position.
“It was a lot of teamwork,” Ewan said. “I had all my guys there from a long way out. There were a lot of points in the last 10km where we needed to be on the front and they did a really good job.
“The most important point for me was the climb, because if I could get a good run up there I could save a lot of energy for the sprint.
“It was a super-hard finish and my legs were burning at the end, I was basically sprinting from 450m to go and slightly uphill, so it was a tough one.”
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