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De Clercq scores gritty win as Deignan slips further

Posted 13 May 2011

Philip Deignan had another disappointing day on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia finishing over 15 minutes down on neo pro Bart de Clercq (Omega Pharma Lotto) who clinched victory by the skin of his teeth after a gutsy attack on the finishing climb at Montevergine.

Deignan (Radioshack) lost ground early on the 17.1 kilometre climb as the peloton worked to close the 1’10” gap to a six man break including Frederico Canuti (Colnago-CSF Inox), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese-Vini), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale), Jerome Pineau (Quickstep) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil).
The 5% gradient was quick to take its toll on Pineau and Visconti who had formed an initial break just 30 kilometres after the start of the short 110 kilometre stage from Maddaloni. Hoogerland had joined the leaders 24 kilometres from the finish.
Some strong riding from the Garmin-Cervelo team of fourth placed GC man Christophe Le Mevel cut the gap to the four surviving leaders to just 8 seconds with 12 kilometres to go.
The slim lead was enough to inspire Bak to go it alone as the Liquigas-Cannondale team of Vincenzo Nibali took control at the head of the peloton. He was caught after almost four kilometres following attacks out of peloton from Francis de Greef (Omega Pharma Lotto) and Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale).
De Clercq counter-attacked with 7.3 kilometres to the summit of the second category climb as the peloton slimmed to about 40 riders. Deignan, unfortunately, was not among the group and well off the pace at this point.
Attempts by Carlos Ochoa (Androni Giocattoli) and Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago CSF Inox) to bridge the 32 seconds gap to De Clercq came to nothing over the closing three kilometres and the Belgian proceeded to carry a lead of just 24 seconds into the final kilometre.
All of the race favourites sat tight in the chasing peloton and were content to mark each other rather than taking the initiative to attack.  The Lampre-ISD team of Michele Scarponi led the charge to recapture De Clercq in the final stages but he was not to be denied his finest hour.
The 24 year old held out by the width of a tyre to celebrate the stage win as Scarponi took second ahead of Roman Kreuziger (Astana) while race leader Pieter Weening (Rabobank) finished 19th in the same time to preserve his two seconds lead over HTC-Highroad’s Kanstantsin Sivtsov. 
Deignan finished once more in the grupetto conceding 15’09”. He has dropped to 145th in the GC a full 39’07” behind Weening heading into the 214 kilometre flat stage eight from Sapri to Tropea.
2011 Giro d’Italia
Stage 7: Maddaloni – Montevergine di Mercogliano, 110 kilometres
1.  Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 2 hours, 54 minutes, 47 seconds
2.  Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
3.  Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
4.  Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
5.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6.  Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
7.  José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
8.  Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
9.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
10. Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
183. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack at 15 minutes, 09 seconds

General classification after stage 8:
1.  Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 23:09:59
2.  Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad at 0:00:02
3.  Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad
4.  Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo at 0:00:05
5.  Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD at 0:00:14
6.  Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team at 0:00:22
7.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0:00:24
8.  Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team at 0:00:28
9.  Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard at 0:00:30
10. Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 0:00:33
145. Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Radioshack at 39 minutes, 07 seconds

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