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(Reuters) - Veteran Andre Greipel powered his way to a splendid victory in the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday, in a rain-affected race between Sulmona and Folign.
Lotto Soudal rider Griepel timed his sprint to perfection in the home stretch of the 211 km race ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo and Sacha Modolo, picking up his second stage win in this year's race and the third successive stage victory for his team.
"If we were playing football we'd say we've scored a hat-trick with three consecutive stage wins. We're very happy," Greipel said after the race.
The victory makes the 33-year-old the most successful German rider in the history of the Giro, with five stage wins.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin retained the overall leader's Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) after finishing safely in the pack and remains 26 seconds ahead of Jakob Fuglsang of Astana.
Back-to-back stage winner Marcel Kittel suffered an unfortunate mechanical failure, resulting in a bike change with just five km left.
The 186 km stage eight of the Giro will take the riders from Foligno to Arezzo on Saturday.
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans