Giro 7: The Longest

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It's a long day!
264 km!
Contador at the start
Front group is Bandiera, Boem, Mihaylov and Negri. Their gap grows till 11'. Team Tinkoff is leading the bunch for Alberto Contador who said: "They have protected my shoulder and hope it will not go out again. Will be a hard day with 264km." Indead.
Headwind, and the average speed after two hours is only 35.7 km/h!
At the intermediate sprint of Vallelunga Elia Viviani goes taking points for the red jersey.
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The break-away
Monterotondo (4th cat): 2.5 km long, average gradient of 5.1%. De Negri tops it first.
Behind the chase is on: Trek's Marco Coledan and BMC's Rik Zabel are on the front setting a  good pace. The gap starts decreasing: 7'45" 80 km to go. 
60 km to go Movistar joins: the gap is down to 6'29". 40 km to go only 2'16".

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All Team Tinkoff in front
Second intermediate sprint and Elia Viviani is  back in red. But here Giacomo Nizzolo puts him behind.
25km to go, the advantage of the four leaders is only 27 seconds and Nikolay Mihaylov goes solo but it's quicly caught: all back together with 20km to go.
The finish is slightly uphill and they take it full gaz: big selection already in spite of the modest gradient. Alberto Contador is in front with all Team Tinkoff. If he's suffering he doesn't show it.
5 km to go the gc guys are still up there, Sky's Kiryenka pulling hard. Then a chaotic sprint. And a surprising winner: Diego Ulissi! After the line he gets off the bike and kisses the ground.
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Michael Matthews was dealing with allergiesBravo Manuel Belletti! 4th again is bitter but also sign of a great condition KEEP ON! Continua così!

Diego Ulissi:
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’m looking at the present. I want to talk about today and today I won the stage.
I have to be honest: from how I started I was a bit worried, my sensations weren’t what I wanted them to be. But some people, like my coach Michele Bartoli, told me that it was more of a mental problem than a physical one. My legs weren’t lack but I had a bit of fear about coming back racing and I was worried that it would take a long time to get back to my best condition. But today I said it didn’t matter if I finished 9th or 10th, the important thing was to try again.
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The winner
It went more or less as planned. Originally I was going to base my sprint around [Philipp] Gilbert, but then I changed my mind when I saw Orica-GreenEdge were set up well and I took Simon Gerrans’ wheel. Then I decided to go from distance because I was worried I’d get shut in, but fortunately my legs held out.
I think I gave a great sign for the Worlds today by winning a stage after 260 kilometres of racing. If people think I’m lacking endurance, then I think I showed them something today. I spoke a lot with [Italian national coach Davide] Cassani when I was away from racing, and he certainly tried to lift my morale.
Bettini and Bartoli are people I saw as being way up there – unreachable. But in terms of my characteristics, I resemble them. They were two fuoriclassi and I’d just like to get close to what they did.”

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Viviani back in Red
Elia Viviani:
"I was able to pick up a few points during the stage at the sprints and it's great to be back in the red jersey," said Viviani after coming off the podium.
It was a tough and long stage and I understood after the second intermediate sprint that I wasn't on my best day and I wouldn't finish in the front group."
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Fabio Felline:
“I am not happy. When I started my sprint I was in good position, and I felt very good. But the moment when I started the sprint Modolo, who was the last man for Ulissi, went right and I had to slow down to get around him. When I restarted my sprint, I had lost the perfect moment. For me, today I felt the victory was close with my sensations. I don’t know if I was five, six…”

Alberto Contador:
“I’m happy because I made it through this very long day and that is something I wasn’t sure about before the stage and especially not yesterday. On the other hand, I have suffered a lot experiencing much pain. It was a stage of more than seven hours and after around four hours I had a moment where I didn’t know where to place my hand on the handlebar.
Now I hope that with more days on the bike I will be a little bit better, but for sure I have some very difficult days ahead of me. I hope that I can make it through them as best as possible.
Yes, tomorrow is a complicated day for me. It’s a day that I was waiting for prior to my crash, because it was a stage, where I could have attacked. But now I have to be calmer and quieter on the bike and wait and see what my rivals do. At this moment, the only thing I’m thinking of is to put ice on my shoulder and knee to recover in the best way possible”

Greg Henderson:

"Today I rode my bike longer than I slept last night. Chances are I will sleep well tonight."

1 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 7:22:21
2 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
4 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling
5 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF
6 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF
7 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
8 Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
9 Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
10 Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 27:42:00
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:20
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:22
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:37
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:56
8 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:01
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:15
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:01:18

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