Once again, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was in the mix, fighting for the top positons in the Giro d’Italia. After great teamwork, Ryan Gibbons proved his big talent as he sprinted to sixth place on stage 7.
On paper, today's stage looked like a sure thing for the sprinters. Therefore, it was no surprise to see that only three riders wanted to make it into the early break. In fact, the trio even became a duo shortly after forming. With 224 km to overcome and no major climbs, all the sprinters had red-circled this stage in the road book and their teams worked well together to control the breakaway.
After showing great shape in the opening stages of Giro d’Italia, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was committed to set up Gibbons for the final sprint in Alberobello. The 22-year-old neo-pro is riding his first Grand Tour but has already made it into Top10 three times so far.
When the breakaway inevitably got caught with just under 20 km to go, the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders put in an impeccable effort to bring Gibbons into the best-possible position. Unfortunately, the young South African lost a few positions in a crucial moment but he still managed to get back and take his fourth Top10 finish within the first seven stages of the race. A truly impressive performance. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won the stage, while Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) kept the pink leader’s jersey. Natnael Berhane is still best-placed Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider in the general classification as he sits in 27th place.
“The team was amazing today. Nathan [Haas] and Kristian [Sbaragli] did a great job setting me up for the final. Unfortunately, I lost a bit of positions in the last 1.5 km, so I had to make a big effort in order to get back and find a good position again. I took the last corner a little too sharply, which cost me all my momentum, meaning I had to do another effort just to get back in the mix. After that, I wasn’t even able to sprint. I was just holding the wheel in front of me and holding my position. I’m disappointed about how it turned out because I felt I had good legs. If I had been on the wheel comfortably going into the last corner, I think I could have done something. The team really committed to me today and I would have liked to repay them with something more than sixth place”.