15/05/15 - 4:25 PM
Grosseto - Fiuggi
Giro d'Italia • Stage7

Grosseto - Fiuggi
Giro d'Italia - 15 May 2015

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 16:25 on 15 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Simon Gerrans took third place for GreenEdge ahead of Belletti and and Battaglin.


It was a slow and laboured slightly uphill sprint there as Ulissi managed to hold off Juan Jose Lobato of Movistar to take the win after a fine lead-out by team-mate Sacha Modolo.




Lampre lead it out... Lotto have vanished...


Lampre enter the fray now, but it's still Pieter Weening driving the Orica train.


Lotto and GreenEdge are now on the front setting a fecocious pace...


There's a slight downhill drag now ahead of the final rise to the finish. Greipel is still there - but will be be after the next climb? Sky have now taken up pace-setting duties, with Kiryienka leading out Porte.


The riders enter a tunnel and so we'll have to hold our breath and see who emerges in front... and it's still Tinkoff-Saxo and the hunched Ivan Basso.


Cannondale-Garmin are edging forward for their man Davide Formolo. The gradient will ease up in a bit ahead of the final kick to the line. Contador still in third place, with two ahead - Basso and Rogers - and another Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate, Rovny, behind.


Veteran Italian Ivan Basso is still setting the pace and shedding bodies. Tinkoff-Saxo have four up front after Matteo Tossato dropped back. Astana and Sky are also there, but Andre Greipel is surrounded by Lotto team-mates on the back of the pack, clinging on for as long as he can.


Igor Anton (Movistar) has been dropped on this climb. The Spaniard is clearly past his best days. The peloton is about 100-strong.


The road is edging uphill again for the start of this final climb to Fiuggi. Yesterday's winner Andre Greipel, it's worth adding, is still in this main pack.


Tomorrow is a different test, but today Contador has acquitted himself exceptionally well. He's right up there with four Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates as they reach the foot of this descent.


Over the top of the climb they go and now there's a little plateau ahead of a zippy descent. Saxo drive the pace. These tight corners will test Contador's shoulder.


Alessandro Petacchi - the oldest man in the race - has been dropped. He's had two top five finishes so far, but he won't get a third today. Matthews is still here, but perhaps this one will suit Simon Gerrans better from Orica-GreenEdge.


Four Tinkoff-Saxo riders are on the front, with Contador, in pink, in third place. They're followed by Sky and Astana, who are riding alongside one another. Impressive from Contador - despite the pain he must be in, he's going strong.


It's not crazy steep this, but such is the pace that riders are dropping like flies. Heinrich Haussler and Tom Boonen, for instance.


Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani CSF) is priming himself for an attack - the Italian is a local lad and this finish could well suit him. But as it is, it's Tinkoff and Sky setting a fast tempo. Contador is riding out of the saddle and throwing around his handlebars, so his shoulder must be ok - for now.


It's Tinkoff-Saxo and Team Sky on the front now as the road heads up on this climb. Numerous riders are being tailed off now as the remnants of the break are caught. Just Mihaylov out now, but he's just waved at the TV cameras and he knows his time is up.


Attack by Mihaylov! The Bulgarian has a last-ditch dig just as the peloton is about to catch his fellow escapees.


CRASH: Team Sky's Siutsou is down after touching wheels with Nippo-Vini Fantini's Manabu Ishibashi. Nothing serious, but not ideal for Richie Porte.


Just 30 seconds now for the four leaders - Bandiera, De Negri, Boem and Mihaylov.


Contador was caught of position then but he's managed to make his way up to the front of the peloton alongside his team-mate Mick Rogers. They know about those climbs - and they will be a real test for the Spaniard with his shoulder injury.


Things are really starting to hot up now that the break is about to be reeled in. The road is flat for the next 5km and then we have the first of two climbs before the finish.


Just 45 seconds now for the four leaders - their carrots are pretty much cooked.


Bandiera keeps to the script and wins the second intermediate sprint from the break, before Nizzolo leads the peloton through just ahead of Viviani, to whom he gave a little nudge in the lead up. Viviani should now have enough points to take the red jersey back from Greipel - unless the German picks up some points at the finish today. That's not impossible - but there is a bit of a kick and so he may not be the best suited rider for the win. Yes, Viviani now has 79 points to Greipel's 75, with Bandiera third on 60.


Now the black-and-luminous-green jerseys of Cannondale-Garmin have come to the front of the pack. The gap for the four leaders is down to 1:35.


New shoe for Kevin Reza - this is about as dramatic as today's stage is going to get.


Androni Sidermec's Marco Bandiera reaches into his back pocket, digs out an energy bar, then hands it over to fellow escapee Nicola Boem of Bardiani-CSF. Solidarity. The road is getting fairly rolling now - and will be like this right to the finish, with two climbs on the cards ahead of the sprint finale.


Australia's Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) is back with the race doctor to receive some attention - he's apparently suffering from allergies today. The 24-year-old won stage three and picked up the maglia rosa for two days earlier in the race. The gap for the leaders is now down to three minutes.


The lead of the four escapees has dropped below give minutes now. They must be getting tired legs - especially Bandiera, who was on the offensive in yesterday's break too. Back with the pack, it's a heavily bandaged Dayer Quintana who is setting the tempo for Movistar - the Colombian came down heavily during the second stage of the race and has been recovering ever since.


The race is still very much behind the slowest predicted speed for the day, which is music to Alberto Contador's ears, no doubt. A reminder that the Spaniard is riding despite dislocating his shoulder yesterday in the pile-up near the finish. With two hilly stages ahead on the weekend, the peloton needed a more gentle affair today - although it is, of course, the longest stage in the race at 264km.


The gap is coming down fairly quickly now: 5:40 at the latest check for these four leaders, who have been out since the 22nd kilometre.


Rigoberto Uran is on the back of the peloton after a call of nature or a visit to the team car. The Colombian - runner up for the past two years - has had a troubled Giro so far, losing time and two team-mates in Pieter Serry and Gianni Meesman. That said, he is still only 1:22 down and so a good day in the mountains would turn things round. Indeed, not that he would wish this upon a rival, but should Contador not complete this race, Uran would be given a new lease of life.


BMC and Movistar have come to the front of the pack now, giving the teams of the GC favourites a rest. The Spanish team may be thinking of launching Giovanni Visconti today, while BMC have their chips in the basket marked Gilbert. The gap is coming down quite quickly now: sevemn minutes at the latest check.


Trek Factory Racing lead the peloton through the KOM sprint at Monterotondo 7:45 down on the four leaders.


It's the final man in this break, Pierpaolo De Negri of Nippo-Vini Fantini, who has just surged clear to take the points atop the Cat.4 climb at Monterotondo ahead of Bandiera. The 28-year-old is in his second season on the team and is riding his second Giro d'Italia. His biggest career win came in the 2012 Trofeo Matteoti.


Marco Bandiera was in the break yesterday and has a reputation of being on the offensive. This is the 30-year-old's third Giro and he also has a 2009 Tour de France participation to his name. The Androni-Sidermec rider is still looking for his first professional win - although he did win the mountains classification in the 2012 Tour of Turkey. Last year, Bandiera won the competition for the Giro's intermediate sprints - which explains why he's going for all these TV sprints this year too.


You can see just how windy it is with the riders' musettes flapping about behind their backs on this sweeping descent. The gap is 8:55 for the four leaders, who will surely be caught, but not for quite some time yet.


This is Nicola Boem's third consecutive Giro d'Italia - not bad for the break's youngest rider. The 25-year-old Bardiani rider won a stage at the Danmark Rundt last season.


CONTADOR WATCH: The pink jersey is currently out of the saddle and looking not very much like a man who dislocated his shoulder yesterday. Good signs for Tinkoff-Saxo and Spanish fans - or anyone who has this race's interests at heart, for his rivalry with Messrs Aru and Porte was shaping up nicely ahead of that unfortunate crash yesterday.


Let's take a closer look at the riders in this break. The only non-Italian is Nikolay Mihaylov, the 27-year-old Bulgarian national champion. He joined CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2012 and picked up three wins last season, including that national gong.


It's the second feed zone for the four leaders, who have 9:45 over the pack. That Cat.4 climb to Monterotondo is coming up.


We still have a full 100km remaining of this marathon of a stage, with the four leaders holding a 10-minute gap on the peloton.


The gap is back up to just below 11 minutes for this break, which includes three Italians and one Bulgarian.


When the peloton passed through the intermediate sprint, Nizzolo, Modolo and Viviani picked up the final points - and that should put Viviani back level with Andre Greipel. The German moved into the red points jersey after yesterday's win, leap-frogging Viviani, the winner of Sunday's second stage.


One solitary BMC rider fronts the peloton ahead of the Tinkoff-Saxo train. They will be thinking to Philippe Gilbert for the win today. Indeed, there was a day when the Belgian would win punchy uphill finishes like today's for fun. But has that day past?


Back in the peloton, it's really strung out with the entire Tinkoff-Saxo team riding in one line, ahead of a line of Astana riders and a line of Sky riders - the team's of the current top three: Contador, Aru and Porte.


Marco Bandiera (Androni-Sidermec) edges ahead of his fellow escapees to mop up maximum points and bonus seconds at the first intermediate sprint at Autoromo di Vallelunga. After he's caught up by the other escapees, the Italian unwraps a piece of paper and shows it to the camera: it's a message to his father to get well soon. A nice touch.


If you're expecting an early start, think again. Former pro rider and current commentator Daniel Lloyd - who conducts the post-race interviews for the host broadcast international feed - has just tweeted that the breakaway, which is almost 10 minutes ahead of the peloton, is riding half an hour behind the slowest predicted schedule today. Apparently this is because of strong headwinds, which means the average speed after four hours in the saddle is just 34.5kmph.


After yesterday's controversy at the finish - where a spectator's camera lens took out Daniele Colli - the race organisers have installed some higher barriers to keep the fans back.


All four wildcard teams are featured in today's break: Androni, Nippo-Vini Fantini, Bardiani CSF and CCC Sprandi Polkowice. They have all been very active since the start of the race, but so far they have no victories to show for it.


The four leaders - Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi) and Pier Paolo De Negri (Nippo-Vini Fantini) - have crested the summit of that climb and are approaching the half-way point of this marathon stage with a lead of 8:30 over the pack.


The four leaders are half-way up an uncategorised climb to the town of Capranica. They have 9:30 over the peloton. So far, no drama...


Should Contador retire from this race, you'd think that the Spaniard would have a tilt at the Vuelta as well as the Tour later in the season. That would lead to a scenario where, perhaps, cycling's Big Four - Contador, Froome, Quintana and Nibali - all try out a Tour-Vuelta double, which ironically would be the closest thing to Oleg Tinkov's desire for the best racers to ride the Triple Tour Challenge...


The gap was just below nine minutes after 100km of racing - with an average speed at 33kmh, which means today's stage may well finish well beyond the slowest scheduled finish time of 4:35pm UK time.


Provided this break is reeled in, today's stage will have many riders salivating. Some names bandied around for the win include Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar), Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), Fabio Felline (Trek) and Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF). The final 10km are uphill with half of that at around 4.5% average gradient - so it will sap many riders' legs after such a long day in the saddle.


“He was good in the morning, we had some laughs and a chat on the bus and he is in a good mood. But of course he’s in pain and it’s hard to say before he starts riding and at the finish we’ll have some more answers,” Tinkoff-Saxo team manager Oleg Tinkov told Cyclingnews. “He’s brave, he’s fighting. Alberto’s put in a huge preparation for the Giro. It’s very hard, he’s very professional. Of course he cannot just abandon. He will try and he will fight." But Tinkov underlined that the final decision will be the Spaniard's as to whether or not he continues racing. "It’s his body, it’s his health. It’s up to him to decide.”


Tinkoff-Saxo general manager Stefano Feltrin told reporters this morning that Contador wore a brace during thenight and that he felt ok this morning. Today is a question of managing the pain, with the maglia rosa said to be riding on reduced tyre pressure to soften any vibrations on the road. "The doctor said after the exam that unless he does something crazy, it’s not going to pop out again, it’s not going to dislocate again," Feltrin said. "The problem is how he actually rides with the pain and the positioning so there a few variables."


After 40km of racing the gap of the five leaders had stretched above the 10-minute mark. A strong headwind has kept the average speed of the pack low - although Contador fans will be pleased to see the pink jersey and his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates setting the tempo on the front.


A second break attempt had more success and a group of four riders managed to extricate themselves from the peloton soon after: Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi) and Pier Paolo De Negri (Nippo-Vini Fantini).


Three riders tried their luck early today: GIanfranco Zilioli (Androni Giocattoli), Fabio Sabatini (Etixx-QuickStep) and Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Sprandi). They were caught soon after and the race came back together.


Graphic images showed Colli lying on the road with his left arm twisted at a horrific angle after his fall. It was later confirmed that he had broken his left humerus. Colli was transported to hospital for a swift operation. He was later photographed in a hospital bed 'licking the bird' after his successful operation - presumably at the man whose actions ended his race. He is said to be out of action for at least two months while he recovers.


The riders rolled out of Grosseto early this morning - at 10:25am local time - for this long stage. The peloton was down to 189 riders following the withdrawal of Italy's Daniele Colli - the Nippo-Vini Fantini rider whose collision with a spectator's long lens camera led to that big pile-up that brought down Contador.


Today's route starts with a flat 80km stretch before the first of two feed zones ushers in some more undulating terrain. Despite the contours, there's only one categorised climb - coming at Monterotondo with 85km remaining. That said, there's a leg-sapping uphill finish that may suit punchy sprinters in the mould of Michael Matthews - but more likely someone with a larger engine.


Yes, this is news that Alberto Contador dislocated his shoulder after coming down in that mass pile-up in the finale of yesterday's stage, won by German national champion Andre Greipel. Speaking from his hotel this morning, race leader Contador told reporters that he would soldier on: "I go. I work incredibly hard for this race. I'll give 100%. I'll do everything that is possible to continue in this race." We hope he won't do everything... but admire his bravery and determination. Forza Contador!


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia - the longest of the race at a whopping 264km - and the longest in the Giro since 1989. Not ideal when you're riding with a dislocated shoulder...