Following stage seven, Andriano Malori lost his pink jersey, but Mark Cavendish kept his rainbow. Photo: Bettini
Paolo Tiralongo out-sprinted one of the overall favorites in Michele Scarponi to win the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia over 202km from Recanati to Rocca di Cambio on Saturday. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal took fifth on the stage, five seconds back, to take over the pink jersey from Italian Andriano Malori. The stage finished with a 19km climb up to Rocca di Cambio that really ramped up in the final 1.5km.
Escapees Stefano Pirazzi and Jose Herrada were caught in that final steep part after which Scarponi made a break for home from 400-metres out. Tiralongo gritted his teeth and stuck with his Italian countryman before nipping past in the final 50 meters.
Luxembourg's Frank Schleck took third on the stage, three seconds back, with Joaquim Rodriguez in fourth with the same time. It was the first stage in which the overall favorites started to show their class with the likes of twice former winner Ivan Basso taking eighth on the stage, nine seconds down, to move up to that same position overall.
Tiralongo's 20-second time bonus for winning the stage helped him up to second overall, 15 seconds down on Hesjedal, with Spaniard Rodriguez now third just another two seconds back. American Garmin pair Christian Vande Velde and Peter Stetina round out the top five.
The stage began with an immediate four-man break comprising Matteo Rabottini, Mirko Selvaggi, Japan's Fumiyuku Beppu and Reto Hollenstein. It lasted until just over 20km left when Rabottini decided to go solo with the peloton quickly closing in.
The other escapees were soon caught while first Pirazzi and then Herrada attacked off the front of the group. They briefly made a three-man group with Rabottini but the Italian could not keep going with it and soon dropped off. Herrada made a sole break when Pirazzi lost time by almost going the wrong way at a junction. The Spaniard held on until 600-metres from the line when the group caught and passed him, leaving Scarponi and Tiralongo to fight for victory.
RESULTS: 205km from Recanati to Rocca di Cambio:
1. Paolo Tiralongo (ITA/Astana) 5 h 51:03, 2. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) same time, 3. Frank Schleck (LUX/RSH) at 03, 4. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 03, 5. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 05, 6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/COG) 09, 7. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 09, 8. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 09, 9. Mikel Nieve (ESP/EUS) 11, 10. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/COG) 11 11. Sergio Henao (COL/SKY) 11, 12. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 11, 13. Eros Capecchi (ITA/LIQ) 11, 14. Serge Pauwels (BEL/OPQ) 11, 15. John Gadret (FRA/ALM) 11, 16. Damiano Caruso (ITA/LIQ) 11, 17. Juan Manuel Garate
(ESP/RAB) 11, 18. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) 11, 19. Jesus Herrada (ESP/MOV) 11, 20. Sergio Pardilla (ESP/MOV) 11
123. Mark Cavendish (GBR/SKY) 17:21, 189. Taylor Phinney (USA/BMC) 23:27
1. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 26h16:53, 2. Paolo Tiralongo (ITA/AST) at 15, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 17, 4. Christian Vande Velde (USA/GRM) 21, 5. Peter Stetina (USA/GRM) 26, 6. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 26, 7. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) 35, 8. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 40, 9. Damiano Caruso (ITA/LIQ) 45, 10. Dario Cataldo (ITA/OPQ) 46 11. Marco Pinotti (ITA/BMC) 46, 12. Frank Schleck (LUX/RSH) 48, 13. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 51, 14. Eros Capecchi (ITA/LIQ) 52, 15. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 53, 16. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 54, 17. Serge Pauwels (BEL/OPQ) 57, 18. Jesus Herrada (ESP/MOV) 58, 19. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 1:04, 20. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 1:06.
168. Mark Cavendish (GBR/SKY) 48:40, 189. Taylor Phinney (USA/BMC) 1h06:42