A fast and furious stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia ended with a first Grand Tour stage win for Astana’s Pello Bilbao. The Basque rider launched a perfectly timed attack in the final kilometre. His rivals hesitated and that was all the advantage he needed to stay ahead of Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)and Davide Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe). Valerio Conti and his UAE-Team Emirates team survived a stressful day, with a little help from Trek-Segafredo, to retain the maglia rosa, but there were some changes within the top 10 on GC.
This classic Tour de France dress rehearsal was a slow burner, only coming alight in the mountains after two time-trials and two sprint stages. Sky’s Geraint Thomas won his fifth one-week stage race in Indurain-like fashion, off the back of his performances in the time-trials and his consistency in the mountains. He measured his efforts to resist everything that second-placed Adam Yates – winner of the final stage – and third-placed Romain Bardet could throw at him on the ascents and descents. There was to be no repeat of last year’s ultimate stage denouement.
Almost unnoticed, Pello Bilbao of Astana took 6th place at the Giro d’Italia. Euan peels back the invisibility cloak and asks… how the hell did he do that?