Bilbao wins Stage 7; Conti keeps pink jersey in Giro

Italy's Valerio Conti crosses the finish line of the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Vasto to L'Aquila, Italy, Friday, May 17, 2019. Conti held onto the overall leader's pink jersey. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

L’AQUILA, Italy — Pello Bilbao won the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia with a late attack while Valero Conti held onto the overall leader’s pink jersey Friday.

Bilbao was part of an early breakaway and accelerated uphill from a group of five riders with little more than one kilometre remaining in the undulating 185-kilometre (115-mile) stage from Vasto to L’Aquila.

Bilbao, who rides for Astana, had time to celebrate and punch the air as he crossed the line.

Tony Gallopin was second and Davide Formolo was third, both five seconds behind.

Jose Rojas, who was also part of the breakaway, moved up to second overall, 1:32 behind Conti, who took the lead a day earlier. Giovanni Carboni is third, 1:41 back, with Bilbao 11th.

Fernando Gaviria, Conti’s teammate on UAE Emirates and winner of the third stage, abandoned the race with pain in his left knee. That leaves Conti with only five riders to help him protect the lead.

The stage paid homage to L’Aquila a decade after an earthquake devastated the town in the Abruzzo region.

Stage 8 on Saturday is the three-week race’s longest, a 239-kilometre leg from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro. The opening 140 kilometres of the stage are flat but the second half is hilly.

The Giro ends June 2 in Verona.

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