Australia's Ewan wins 7th stage of Giro; Jungels keeps lead

The stage finish dictated that the riders cross the line in front of hundreds of spectators, then ride one more circuit of Messina before a massed sprint finish.

He finished the stage in 148th place.

But Andreetta said Bardiani are keen to make amends, after he finished fourth on a dramatic sixth stage from Reggio di Calabria to Terme Luigiane that saw Switzerland's Silvan Dillier, of BMC, prevail.

"This win has probably brought me more joy than any other", Ewan said.

Bob Jungels (Quick-Step) still held the pink jersey coming into the stage, and would be disappointed if it didn't remain that way.

Though his remarkable late attack did not pay full dividends, Quick-Step Floors rider Gaviria was able to substantially increase his lead in the points classification by taking second, with closest challenge Jasper Stuyven only fifth on the day. We went early, but that was the plan, and they just stayed so confident and so calm.

It meant plenty of stage victory hopefuls were left disappointed after a routine day in the saddle turned into a desperate chase.

Victor of the points classifications at the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour Down Under this year, Ewan's previous Grand Tour stage win came at the 2015 Vuelta.

The Belgian later explained: "He (Andreetta) wasn't doing a lot of work with us, so it was best to get rid of him in case he'd kept his energy for the finish".

On paper, stage seven didn't look like a classic stage.

"I was a little surprised by Dillier, but this finish had an eight percent gradient, which is a little hard for me".

Megan Guarnier of the United States won the opening stage of the race, with Anna van der Breggen of The Netherlands now lying second at the UCI Women's WorldTour event.

The longest stage of the race provided little in the way of drama for much of the 224-kilometre ride from Castrovillari to Alberobello, which consisted of just one categorised climb.

  • Kyle Peterson