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Recanati - Rocca di Cambio
Giro d'Italia - 12 May 2012
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 17:45 on 12 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) of Canada takes over the GC lead, 15 seconds ahead of Tiralongo. Rodriguez and Christian Vandevelde also there... still over 15 riders within a minute of the lead, so it can all change.
So, how does that affect the GC? We will find out once all the stragglers are over the line, but we can be sure Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) is no longer in the Maglia Rosa because he dropped off the back of the peloton.
A great win for Astana's Paolo Tiralongo, who lies on the cobbles of Rocca di Cambio before being helped to his feet. A cracking ride from the 34-year-old.
It's Michele Scarponi versus Paolo Tiralongo... and TIRALONGO WINS IT! Frank Schleck third, Joaquim Rodriguez fourth.
Herrada is caught, and it is Michele Scarponi (Lampre) who hits the front - Frank Schleck and Joaquim Rodriguez also there...
Herrada is on his own and inside the final kilometre. Pirazzi has been caught.
Pirazzi runs wide on a right-hand corner! He loses momentum and that may cost him any chance of victory.
Pirazzi and Herrada give it everything on the downhill section, can they stay out? They have only got about 20 seconds to play with.
OK, so now it gets interesting - the leaders are over the peak, now they have a short downhill section and a final drag up to Rocca di Cambio.
Pirazzi empties a bottle of water over himself - on the seductiveness scale, it's not Myleene Klass, but he's probably got more important things to worry about. Rabottini has come off the front due to chain problems.
Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) is pushing the pace at the front, but the gap remains constant. Herrara looks comfortable.
30 seconds now between the Herrada/Pirazzi/Rabottini group and the peloton. Not really enough, is it?
Jose Herrada Lopez (Movistar) has also made a break, and he is closing in on Pirazzi (Colnago) and Rabottini (Farnese-Vini). They are the three at the front, about 40 seconds ahead of the peloton.
The Maglia Rosa Adriano Malori has lost contact with the back of the peloton. His time in pink is coming to an end.
Stefano Pirazzi has made a solo break from the peloton, and is closing in on Rabottini, the last of the escapees still out there...
The leaders are less than a minute in front now, and any semblance of cooperation has disappeared. They have had it.
A few stragglers at the back of the peloton now, including Mark Renshaw. Don't think there's any danger of them getting timed out, though. Not far to go now.
The lead at the 20km mark was 1'58". Popular wisdom dictates you need 10km to reduce the gap by a minute, but I don't think it will be that close - especially on a climb.
Now it is Monistar's turn to take the strain as the peloton go under the '20km to go' archway.
Garmin and Radio Shack at the front of the peloton, now - Hunter does another stint.
The leading quartet are still together, but the game is up, surely. The gap has been slashed to under three minutes. We are about 5km from the start of the climb to Rocca di Cambio.
Fumiyuki Beppu makes a break for it and Mirko Selvaggi goes with him! Will they make it stick? Selvaggi doesn't look too keen...
There's an intermediate sprint here, which frankly is the last thing the leaders need as the gap is whittled down to three minutes. The stage reaches the five-hour mark.
Into L'Aquila, the city hit by a major earthquake in 2009, killing 308 people, injuring 1,500 and making 65,000 homeless. Still a lot of cranes and scaffolding as the rebuilding operationg continues some three years after the tragedy.
Yes, this could be curtains for the leading quartet. The gap is down to four minutes and one of them needs to make a push if they are going to survive. Can't see it, though.
Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Barracuda) does a stint at the head of the peloton in his rather fetching South African flag jersey. Garmin now setting the pace, and this will pose a major threat to the escape.
Interesting stuff - the break still have more than five minutes in hand, and they have stabilised the gap after that mini charge by Katusha and Lampre. It's unlikely that they can stay clear, but you never know...
So then, how will the last hour or so of this stage play out? The riders are on a gentle downhill trajectory, and apart from a little rise at L'Aquila they will continue descending until the foot of the final climb. From there, they will rise from 602m to 1361m over 15km. Then, in the last five kilometres, there is a short downhill section before a final, short, steep climb to the finish at Rocca di Cambio.
Into the last 50km, and the peloton have been strung right out by Lampre and Katusha. To be honest, this stage needed an injection of pace. It was all rather sedate. The breakaway's lead is down to 5'45", and you have to imagine they are done for.
The breakaway goes through the gorgeously picturesque hilltop town of Montereale - it lies on the edge of the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga national park, and it really is beautiful.
And Katusha are off to the races! They have come to the front of the pack, and already the gap has been reduced by a minute! 6'20" now, and Pavel Brutt is the leading protagonist. A reminder of the four men in the escape: Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-Greenedge), Matteo Rabottini (Farnese-Vini), Reto Hollenstein (Netapp) and Mirko Selvaggi (Vancasoleil).
Lampre have come to the front of the peloton - they are pushing the pace but the gap is still around 7'30".
Mark Cavendish plays the good team-mate as he drops back to the team car and picks up water for his colleagues. Well, he's not in contention to win the stage, is he?
We have quotes from Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) after he abandoned earlier today. He had back and knee injuries relating to a crash on stage two - he was in serious pain yesterday, and despite a session with the osteopath last night, he was unable to continue today.
The leaders press on down the hill, and have stretched their lead over the eight-minute mark. The peloton head into the feed zone at Trisungo.
Classification at Colle Galluccio, a category 3 climb: 1-Beppu (5pts), 2-Rabottini (3pts), 3-Hollenstein (2pts), 4-Selvaggi (1pt).
The escapees scooped the points for getting to the to of Colle Galluccio first, so the peloton are in no hurry to get up there - the average speed on this stage is just 33.4km/h. Nobody has dropped off the back of the bunch, as happened yesterday.
On the comments board, Matt O asks: "Any comments on the story Cavendish and the group he was in yesterday covered the last 15km in 16 minutes to make the time cut, thanks to a helicopter? True or not?" Don't think they finished as quickly as that, but the linked story has some great quotes from Bernhard Eisel illustrating just how cream crackered he was.
And it's LIVE! British Eurosport coverage has now started after a slight technical hitch. More details from
The leaders are now on the category 3 Colle Galluccio climb, the only classified climb before the end at Rocca di Cambio. The lead is now down to 7'10".
We have a retirement - Gianni Meersman (Lotto Belisol) is the fifth man to quit the Giro, after Lastras, Farrar, Hushovd and Feillu were eliminated yesterday.
As things stand, there is a breakaway comprising Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-Greenedge), Matteo Rabottini (Farnese-Vini), Reto Hollenstein (Netapp) and Mirko Selvaggi (Vancasoleil). The race goes live on British Eurosport at 13:30 UK time.
The gap is back up to 8'45" - nobody showing much appetite for making inroads into the lead as things stand. In the meantime, why not have a look at our race gallery?
Lampre have come to the front of the peloton and are pushing the pace a little to keep the escapees in range. But the gap is reducing very slowly at the moment.
The gap is pretty much constant as the break ploughs on towards the day's first majot climb, a category three hike up to Colle Galluccio, which stands 1190m above sea level. They are expected there in about 45 minutes' time.
The escapees lead by 8'20" now, and are on a climb up to the town of Rustici in the Fermo province. It is a short, sharp climb of a couple of hundred metres, but it is a gradient of up to 11%, so not much fun while it lasts.
Ivan Basso remains the bookies' favourite to win the race outright, with Michele Scarponi, Roman Keuziger and Joaquin Rodriguez also much-fancied.
A recap of how they stand after stage six - Adriano Malori (Lampre) is the man in pink, holding a 15-second lead over Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
We have a breakaway: Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-Greenedge), Matteo Rabottini (Farnese-Vini), Reto Hollenstein (Netapp) and Mirko Selvaggi (Vancasoleil) have already put nine minutes on the peloton!
The sun was shining at the start of the stage, and the weather is expected to be good for the rest of the day. It was a scorching 26C in Recanati, while the temperature was a cooler 19C at the hilltop finish at Rocca di Cambio.
British Eurosport's live TV coverage starts at 13:30 UK time, which should cover the final 100km. You can also watch on the Eurosport Player.
Here's a look at the final few kilometres of the race - there is a peak at Valcio, 3.5km from the end, followed by a short downhill section and another climb up to Rocca di Cambio, including a short spell at 10% gradient.
Here is today's time schedule. You'll see the finish is due around 17:00 local time or shortly after - that's 4pm UK time.
Today's stage is a 205km trip south into the Abruzzo region of Eastern Italy. It is an interesting stage profile, gradually climbing throughout the day. There is a catregory three climb at the halfway point, and a category two finish at Rocca di Cambio, which is at 1392m above sea level.
Welcome to live coverage of stage seven of the 2012 Giro d'Italia from Recanati to Rocca Di Cambio.