After a wet, windy and incredibly dramatic Stage 6 of the Giro d'Itaila saw Swiss prodigy Gino Mader hold on for a first professional win, what will Stage 7 serve up for us on the 181km route from Notaresco - Termoli? Hungarian Attila Valter of Groupama–FDJ now leads the General Classification - can he hold on to that status and consolidate?
Highlights: Gaviria denied by Ewan after going for broke
Whether he gets reinstated or not will depend on how the commissaries view the incident with which he was involved. Initial indication was he had a mechanical. It was definitely within the last three kilometres.
Caleb Ewan wins the stage!
They flick round a left-hander and Gaviria of UAE goes very early indeed.
Ewan had to chase the move himself and he caught and outstripped the Colombian with ease. By the time he hit the line, the Australian was a full bike length ahead.
It was Cimolai who also managed to get past Gaviria, with Merlier in third.
They hit that savage incline and it's pretty much every sprinter for himself. Gavazzi attacks for Eolo, with Daniel Oss in his wheel covering the move.
2km to go – Cofidis hit the front
But is this too soon for Viviani?
3km to go – Groenewegen loses his leadout
Affini is absolutely gunning it at the front, but his sprinter is nowhere near him. Lotto seems to have done the best job of holding their train together.
4km to go – Roundabout!
The road really narrowed there after a roundabout and we've gone from having all the contenders riding as a block at the front, to a super strung-out line of racers. The trains are in chaos.
5km to go – Jumbo bringing up Groenewegen
Remiss of me not to mention the Dutchman earlier when discussing the favourites but of all the fast riders here he is one of the ones that most struggles to climb. He's a classic sprinter capable of getting dropped on steep bridges on a bad day.
That all being said, he'll probably prove me and his other doubters dead wrong and win this now!
We have Cofidis, Bora, UAE all marshalling their forces at the front of the peloton. The GC teams are also keen to be well-placed in case of any crashes – as today could cause one or two small time gaps for the unwary riders in the bunch.
The break are still out there, with 14 seconds on the bunch. The peloton would probably be happy to catch them at just about 10km out.
25km to go – Gap is tumbling
Only half a minute for the three up-front. Their goose is cooked, but they can still fight it out for the most aggressive rider award.
De Gendt is pulling the peloton on behalf of Caleb Ewan. Cofidis, team of Elia Viviani, are also very prominent.
Nice bike, you ever take it off any sweet jumps?
35km to go – Fo' Nizzle
Giacomo Nizzolo would be a very popular winner today. Not only is he an Italian, he's also the owner of a not-particularly-enviable record.
The Qhubeka-Assos has come second in more stages of the Giro d'Italia than any other rider in its more than a century of history, without taking a single win. He has 11 second places to his name and no wins, with two of those seconds coming in this very edition of Il Giro.
We have seen this year his immense frustrations with those two second places, and it would be lovely to see him finally put the issue to bed. He has a rider from his team pulling the bunch now, as the gap dwindles to close to one minute for the first time in 140 kilometres.
40km to go – Contador: "Peter is a crack"
Alberto Contador, Eurosport & GCN expert and two-time Giro winner, had his say on one of the favourites for today's stage, Peter Sagan:
"Peter Sagan is one of those world icons who shows a brutal character that not all professionals can have. He has won great races and has given us unforgettable moments. In addition, he is a pioneer in doing stunts on the bike with impossible pirouettes that today other cyclists imitate. Peter is a crack".
Stunts or no stunts, Sagan is a top shout for today. The slightly tougher-than-flat finish plays to his strengths, and he has shown already today that he is serious about the maglia ciclamino. The question that has dogged his last few seasons remains, however; can he still beat the fastest men in the game?
50 km to go – Ewan making hay while the sun shines
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) seemed to disappear from the front of the peloton on stage 2 just as the race was entering its final kilometres, but then redeemed himself two days ago with a brilliant victory.
The Aussie has no intention of staying the full course for the Giro – he has said as much to the press – so he is all about hoovering up victories in the early part of this race. He'll be extremely motivated for this today, and the small amount of climbing involved in the final shouldn't trouble him. You might remember he was very impressive in Milan-Sanremo climbing the Poggio in the company of Julian Alaphilippe.
His teammate Thomas De Gendt is pulling the peloton as we speak to control the breakaway. Here's some thrillin onboard footage from Ewan's stage win earlier in the week.
Watch onboard reaction to Ewan's win on Stage 5
60km to go – The Great Wizard Merlier
Tim Merlier is my pick for the win today. He is a rider who is very high on confidence going into this stage with a victory already in the Giro in his back pocket, not to mention some of his best results of his career in races earlier in the season.
One argument against the Belgian winning today is that he is a little on the heavy side. He might struggle with the slightly more challenging finale that we have in-store today, which involves one bit of 12% gradient. That being said, I think he was the power in those big legs of his to get through the inclines and emerge with a second win.
It's also a chaotic finish, we think, today – and Merlier proved he was more than capable of managing that sort of run-in when he won stage 2.
Highlights: Merlier wins on debut after points confusion
70km to go – Whizzing along
The pace has picked up a bit and the gap is now a scant 1'45".
News came out in the last 36 hours or so that Tom Dumoulin is going to make his return to racing, which is wonderful news.
Ahead of an intermediate sprint which is won by Umberto Marengo in the break, Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates have started a party further back. They attack off the front of the peloton with a couple of other riders in town, and they get a small gap.
This is straight out of the Sagan green jersey playbook, as he hoovers up the maximum remaining points for a relatively tiny expenditure of energy.
Advantage Sagan, then, for the ciclamino points so far available today. A sign he's serious about trying to win the cyclamen jersey at the end of these three weeks.
95km to go – A new king in town?
Eurosport & GCN expert Sean Kelly (winner of 21 Grand Tour stages) believes Remco Evenepoel will be the new king of Belgium should he win:
“He is thinking of trying to do a real good ride in this Giro. His first real big three week Tour coming back [from injury]... If he can do something like a podium place or top five, that would be a super performance but if he does better than that, and if he goes on to challenge or even win this race, the Belgians my god will be totally crazy. The reaction will be huge. Remco Evenepoel is already a huge name but this will make him the King of Belgium.”
And we also have an interview with Prince Remco...
‘I lost some weight for the mountains’ – Evenepoel surprised by his form
105km to go – The latest Serry smash-up scuttlebutt
Our break continue to plug away with Mark Christian looking very strong in this leading trio.
We've got plenty more content pertaining to that Serry incident for you, including an irked Matt White giving his view on the decision to send his colleague Gene Bates home.
White: 'We are very good drivers' despite Serry crash
And the magnanimous Mr Serry has also had his say on the incident.
'It was a stupid accident' – Serry on being wiped out by car
115km to go – Pellaud snaffles the points
It's the Swiss who wins the points and the cash, by virtue of basically being the only one interested. Marengo didn't lift a finger, and Christian only managed a token effort there.
The peloton have just reached the foot of the climb and there are big crowds roadside. Trek-Segafredo's local rider, Giulio Ciccone, rides a few metres off the front of the peloton and gives a wave to some of the fans.
It's still molto chilled here in the Italian spring sunshine.
125km to go – Climb KOMing up
We've a climb on the horizon but it's only a little one. None of our breakaway are heavily involved in that competition, yet. Pellaud has six points already and Marengo has one. It's not possible for Gino Mader to lose the jersey today, so the contest here will be purely for the cash money.
All very tranquil in the pack at the moment, with the gap ebbing and flowing between four minutes and three-and-a-half.
135km to go – Dan Martin in high spirits
The Irish Englishman is in fine fettle at this year's Giro. His team had the maglia rosa for a day, via Alessandro de Marchi, but their real candidate for the GC is Martin. He says he's just here enjoying himself.
‘You saying I’m old?’ – Martin racing for fun at Giro
145km to go – The leaders plough on
Our leading trio has 3'42" so their gap has dropped a little bit. Nevertheless, they are rolling through nicely and seem relatively happy to be trundling along sunny Italian roads. It's a far cry from the Isle of Man for Manxman, Mark Christian, that's for sure.
The veteran rider is a bit of an anomaly on Eolo Kometa, which is essentially a devo team setup by Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador. They will be hoping a rider like Christian can pass on some of his wealth of experience to the younger guys in the squad, as well as getting them this highly-valued TV time from being in the break today!
Christian went pro in 2012 with An Post, and has ridden for a bevvy of UK & Irish teams including Team Raleigh, Canyon DHB Soreen and the ill-fated Aqua Blue Sport who went spectacularly out of business a few seasons ago.
155km to go – DS who rear-ended Serry sent home
One of the most dramatic moments of yesterday came when a Team BikeExchange car collided with Deceuninck QuickStep rider, Pieter Serry.
'Awful' - Reaction to team car hitting Serry at Giro
The DS driving that car, Gene Bates, has now been sent home from the race and Matt White, the team's lead director who was in the passenger seat at the time of the incident was also fined.
165km to go – 4'45" for the break
That gap has gone up rapidly and after just 16km of riding they are well out of sight of a very relaxed-looking peloton.
This'll be the way things go for a little while, so in the meantime – show me your snacks!
175km to go – And that's the breakaway formed.
Well, I got the right teams but not the exact riders. It's Simon Pellaud for Androni, Umberto Marengo for Bardiani and the British rider Mark Christian for Eolo Kometa.
What's the Italian equivalent of plus ca change?
181km to go – Breakaway chances
It's a flat stage today with a slightly uphill finish. It's tougher than a pure, pure sprint stage, but I still think we'll see the teams of Caleb Ewan, Merlier and Dylan Groenewegen try to control things from early doors.
As such, I wouldn't be surprised if we have a small breakaway today made up of riders from Androni, Bardiani and Eolo. My punt would be FilippoTagliani for the men in red – he has been absolutely dogged so far in the race when it comes to getting up the road. Vincenzo Albanese is another one who might fancy it – he has a good haul of KOM points and might like to register a few more before the day is out.
We're almost ready to roll in today's sprint stage, with a new rider in the maglia rosa today and a likely sprint finish which should suit the talents of this man.
It's Tom Owen here with you today as Felix Lowe is off doing family duties, so if you want to Tweet me your thoughts, it's
over on the Bird Website.
A Hungarian in pink!
Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) is the new race leader. The 22-year-old, riding his second Giro, is 11 seconds clear of Belgian debutant Evenepoel with Egan Bernal a further five seconds back.
Hugh Carthy, Aleksandr Vlasov and Simon Yates finished together and limited their losses, coming home 29 seconds down on the winner today, and in a group with Hungarian youngster Valter, who wears the pink jersey...
'Oh my word, disgraceful!' - Team car knocks over rider in shocking incident
Bernal showing promising signs
The Colombian underlined his form with second place for Ineos and some bonus seconds ahead of Dan Martin and Remco Evenepoel. They came over the line 12 seconds down. Giulio Ciccone took fifth and Damiano Caruso sixth.
Dan Lloyd and Hannah Walker were certainly impressed by Ineos...
'A really, really good day for Ineos' - Reaction to Stage 6 of Giro
Recap: Victory on Stage 6 for Mader
A day after Mikel Landa crashed out, Bahrain-Victorious enjoyed a morale-boosting win through the Swiss prodigy Gino Mader, who held on for a first professional win. He could well also have the blue jersey as well.
You can watch the Giro d'Italia live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.