Marius Mayrhofer crossed the line at the end of the longest stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia in seventh position, taking his third top 10 of the race – his first ever Grand Tour – after finishing fifth and eighth on days two and six respectively. Mayrhofer navigated a nervous finale to the stage to sprint from a select group that remained at the front after crashes in the final kilometres.
The stage got underway with damp conditions ahead but nowhere near as wet as yesterday’s deluge. The intermittent weather didn’t stop a breakaway from getting clear early in the day as six riders soon established a gap out front, building a lead of a few minutes under the watchful eye of the sprinters teams back in the peloton.
Despite a mostly steady stage, the team had to remain focused throughout as a number of crashes and climbs punctuated the racing and caused a number of riders to lose contact. On the final climb of the day with the break sitting around one minute ahead of the bunch, a small number of riders jumped clear, seeing the pace jump. But the team rallied around Mayrhofer to keep him well positioned to take the run in to the finish in shape to content the sprint. With the last rider from the break caught just inside 10 kilometres from the line, all eyes turned to the sprint and having navigated the late crashes, Mayrhofer came out of the final corner a little too far back to really contest the podium spots on the day but taking a respectable seventh amongst strong company.