PESCARA, Italy (AP) — Australian rider Adam Hansen won the hilly and rainy seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia with a solo breakaway, and Benat Intxausti of Spain took the overall lead on Friday.
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins had trouble negotiating the slippery roads on a descent shortly before the finish. He fell at one point but did not appear to suffer a major injury. Still, he lost more than a minute to the other contenders.
Hansen, who rides for Lotto Belisol, clocked more than 4 1/2 hours over the 177-kilometer (110-mile) leg from San Salvo to Pescara.
Enrico Battaglin of Italy finished 1:07 behind in second place, and 2007 winner Danilo Di Luca of Italy was third with the same time.
Intxausti holds a 5-second lead over top contender Vincenzo Nibali, with defending champion Ryder Hesjedal 8 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 time in Stage 8 on Saturday — a 55-kilometer (34-mile) individual time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara where he'll be among the favorites.
"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 from the main pack with several other riders 30 kilometers (20 miles) into the stage. He then attacked his last breakaway rival, Emanuele Sella of Italy, with 20 kilometers (12 miles) to go.
Hansen was previously known purely as 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.
"Our team tactics were to get in a breakaway, and today was the day we thought best to be in the break," Hansen said. "This is the biggest win of my life."
Sella also fell twice, and Nibali slid nearly 10 meters (yards) 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."
The race ends May 26 in Brescia.