Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team | Niccolò Bonifazio sprints to 3rd place at Praia a Mare and Pozzovivo stays 4th in overall
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Niccolò Bonifazio sprints to 3rd place at Praia a Mare and Pozzovivo stays 4th in overall

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Praia a Mare, May 11th– Stage 7 ; Pizzo – Praia a Mare –159 km

The 159km stage from Pizzo to Praia a Mare is a fast stage that could end up in a bunch sprint. TBM strategy was very simple for such a stage; to watch out for Domenico Pozzovivo and keep hime safe in every moment and give a chance to Niccolò Bonifazio for his sprint fireworks.

The final kilometresfrom 10km to 5km before the finish, the road was wide and well surfaced, with three tunnels along the way. A few hundred metres after the end of the tunnel, the route had the ss18 and passes through the centre of Tortora Marina, first, and Praia a Mare, thereafter. The route continued along wide avenues, with just two bends leading into the home straight (1,900m on a 7.5m-wide asphalt road to the finish line.

Everything went really for TBM well and peaceful at the coastal 7th stage of Giro 101 today, and when our riders had all ready to accomplish their strategy, and suddenly at the 17 km to the finish, Niccoló Bonifazio had a front wheel puncture. Domen Novak immediately gave him his wheel and Giovanni Visconti brought him on a fast lane to Manuele Boaro, Boaro to Matej Mohorič who had a challenging mission to work really hard to find get Bonifazio to the very front. And finally, Bonifazio found himself at the front with many of the sprinters at the 10 km to the final meters and used all his energy to have a really hard fight with Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and Sam Bennet (Bora-Hansgrohe) who took todays’ victory at Praia a Mare.   

Domenico Pozzovivo had a safe stage and he kept the same position and and time delay as after the 6th stage behind Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates (MItchelton-Scott) Maglia Rosa leader Simon Yates.

Niccolò Bonifazio said after the race; “I had bad luck with 15 km to go, when I got a contact with another rider and I broke my front wheel. It was not easy to get back to the peloton. Thanks to my teammates that helped me to be there in front positions for the final. Maybe I made a mistake in waiting and I had to sprint earlier”.

Domenico Pozzovivo’s quote;  said shortly after the race;

“We avoided risks today and that is important. Two long stages await us tomorrow and on Sunday. The climbs are not so hard, but I think that the Gran Sasso can reveal something more thant tomorrow’s route. We will ride up to 2.000 mt altitude and even if I did not see it, they told me it is a demanding ascent, in the final 5 km in particular. My shape is very good. I’m not completely satisfied with yesterday’s result, but I’m happy for my legs, because I’m among the climbers who seem to ride better so far. Mitchelton-Scott have an advantage, because they have two riders for the GC and plenty of strong climbers. Froom and Aru are growing, Pinot and Lopez are strong rivals. There are still many riders to keep an eye on”.

(All pictures attached can be used for editorial and non-commercial use) – © Team Bahrain-Merida / @BettiniPhoto)