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Australian rider Adam Hansen survived the wet and hilly conditions that saw several riders take a spill to win the 162-kilometre seventh stage of the 96th Giro d'Italia from San Salvo to Pescara.
Australian rider Adam Hansen survived the wet and hilly conditions that saw several riders take a spill to win the 162-kilometre seventh stage of the 96th Giro d'Italia from San Salvo to Pescara.

Cycling: Early present for birthday boy Adam Hansen at Giro d'Italia

Australian Adam Hansen wins a hilly and rainy seventh stage as Sir Bradley Wiggins falls but appears to not have injured himself at the Giro d'Italia's seventh stage.

PESCARA, Italy // Australian rider Adam Hansen won the hilly and rainy seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday with a solo breakaway, and Benat Intxausti of Spain took the overall lead.

Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins had trouble negotiating a treacherously wet hairpin bend on a descent shortly before the finish.

He fell - but did not appear to suffer a major injury - and lost more than a minute to the other contenders.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford reported the British star none the worse for his tumble.

"Bradley's fine - rhere's no physical injury," Brailsford reported.

"Ultimately, when you have difficult conditions like these, and hard racing, this type of thing can happen.

"It's the Giro. You can have good days and bad days, and you have to wait until the end to tot them all up and see where you are.

"It's a setback, but Brad's still very much in the hunt.

"We've now got to take each day as it comes, focus on fully recovering tonight and hitting the time trial hard tomorrow. We'll see where we are tomorrow night and take stock of the situation then."

Hansen, who rides for Lotto Belisol, clocked more than 4-1/2 hours over the 175.4-kilometre leg from San Salvo to Pescara.

Intxausti leads top contender Vincenzo Nibali with defending champion Ryder Hesjedal eight seconds back in third.

Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour de France winner, moved up to sixth overall, 16 seconds back.

Wiggins dropped from sixth to 23rd overall, 1:32 behind, although he could make up time in Saturday's eighth stage, a 54.7km individual time trial.

"I think Wiggins understands now that the Giro is not the Tour," said 2000 Giro winner Stefano Garzelli, the oldest rider in this year's race at 39.

"All the stages are difficult."

Hansen broke away and took command from the main pack with several other riders 32.2km into the stage.

He then attacked his last breakaway rival, Emanuele Sella of Italy, with 19.3km to go.

Sella also fell twice, and Nibali slid nearly 10 meters across the road during a downhill attack.

He also appeared to avoid serious injury.

Many other riders also fell.

"I wanted to earn some time before tomorrow's time trial," Nibali said. "It would have been better without the fall."

Hansen was previously a reliable support rider.

He was the only man last year to complete all three of cycling's Grand Tours - the Giro, Tour and Spanish Vuelta.

Hansen, who turns 32 Saturday, was clinching his first stage victory on a major tour since he turned professional in 2007.

"It was really tough but I had an incredible feeling crossing the line," he said.

"I never thought I'd experience such a day as this.

"I've registered the best victory of my career, what a magnificent present to myself 24 hours before my birthday."

The race ends May 26 at Brescia.

sports@thenational.ae

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