Just as they did in the Etna stage, this time on Friday’s long grind through the mountains of southern Italy, Ineos Grenadiers were once again one of the few top GC teams prepared to put in the spadework on the biggest climbs to keep their rivals on their toes. And as a strategy, the squad insisted afterwards, things had worked out well.
“This stage was a day about wearing people down,” Rod Ellingworth, deputy team principal at Ineos Grenadiers , told a small group of reporters after the finish of stage 7 in Potenza that featured more than 4,500 metres of climbing, “and we had numbers up there, and everybody was looking good.
“It was a long day, a lot of early climbing, but I think everybody on GC is waiting for the big stage on Sunday.”
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The British squad’s Giro leader Richard Carapaz was briefly on the move in the stage’s exceptionally-long spell of early skirmishing, at one point getting in a break with teammate Jhonatan Narváez for roughly eight kilometres according to the official race report.
But once the break of the day had finally settled into shape after a fraught, first 90 kilometres, in the main pack a long line of Ineos Grenadiers racers ensured the pace stayed high.