Cycling: A short stage in a grand tour; eight laps in the city center - sounds like the Tour de France in Paris, but it's the Giro d'Italia in Bari. We had actually expected two hours with countless attacks and counter-attacks - the pros didn't need much longer for the 112 kilometers, but the thing with the attacks was postponed to the last kilometers. The big teams in the peloton agreed that the street circuit and the wet roads were too dangerous to go full speed.
But the stage was by no means boring. A technically demanding course, many defects, tactical skirmishes, drivers in dialogue with the race commissioners, smaller teams that are unhappy with what the big teams agree on...
So, during the stage, the riders, together with the organizers, decided that the mark decisive for the general classification should be the finish line of the penultimate lap, not the last lap.
So there was a separate race for the stage win over the last 8 kilometers, and those who didn't want to take any risks simply opted out - an unusual sight for racers and spectators.
At the front, Cannondale took over the scepter in the final kilometers and set a high pace. And promptly, Elia Viviani's entire sprint train fell two kilometers from the finish - as if to prove that it was the right decision to neutralize the race beforehand.
Giant-Shimano seemed to benefit from the fall, suddenly found themselves all alone in the lead with four men... but they didn't really want to take advantage of the situation and continued cautiously. Tom Veelers looked like the certain winner, but Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr), who came from far behind, sprinted over him and got the victory, for which he was already fighting on the first stages against an overpowering Marcel Kittel. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) was second.
- Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
- Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
- Tom Veeler's (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
- Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre Merida
- Elijah Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
- Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
- Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Beliso
- Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano
- Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano
- Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli – Yellow Fluo
- Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 12:28:43
- Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick Step 0:00:08
- Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
- Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:14
- Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenEdge
- Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge
- Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
- Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick Step 0:00:19
- Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick Step
- Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick Step