GIRO D’ITALIA Man | Step 8
13:21 – Trek-Segafredo leads the hunt
123km to cover: It’s Trek teammates in pink jersey Lopez who lead the pack and lead the chase just ahead of Simon Yates’ BikeExchange-Jayco train. The gap has increased to 1:53 for the 21 leaders as the race heads north from Naples towards the intermediate sprint at Lago Patria.
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13:12 – The gap slips above the minute mark
130km to cover: This breakaway of 21 breakaways exudes class and quality but the peloton does not let itself be taken lightly – and this is perhaps not unrelated to the presence of the Frenchman Martin in the movement; the Cofidis runner is only four minutes behind the GC and, given his climbing skills, he is somewhat of a dangerous man.
The leaders are: Andrea Vendrame and Lilian Calmejane (Ag2R-Citroen), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Fabio Felline and Harold Tejada (Astana-Premier Tech), Wout Poels and Jasha Sutterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Davide Gabburo ( Bardiani-CSF), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Simone Ravenelli and Eduoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Giacattoli), Mirco Maestri and Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa), Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Thomas De Gendt, Sylvain Moniquet and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
Tom Dumoulin with the red number
The Dutchman was handed the fighting spirit award yesterday after being battled numerous times in the breakaway before setting up teammate Koen Bouwman for victory. Dumoulin’s fourth place was arguably as impressive as any of his big stage wins in the past – although you can be sure he’ll want to hit the air to celebrate his own victory before this is over. Giro, rather than just a win for a teammate.
13:05 – Van der Poel caught by the pursuers
138km to cover: The Dutchman gives up the ghost and is absorbed by the break, which counts 35 seconds on the peloton. Jorge Arcas from Movistar was very active, as was the Lotto Soudal pair of De Gendt and Slyvain Moniquet. That suggests they don’t believe their sprinter Caleb Ewan can win today. Danish powerhouse Magnus Cort missed out on that decision and it’s the EF rider who leads the way behind in a bid to bring those leaders back.
12:58 – Problem for the maglia rosa
141km to cover: Juan Pedro Lopez, the pink jersey, had come out of the back after a mechanical problem. Better now than later, of course, but the return will be difficult for the Spaniard, who will need some of his Trek-Segafredo teammates to come back and help. The race is well and truly on. Van der Poel has 10 seconds over a large chasing group that includes Andrea Vendrame, Wout Poels, Guillaume Martin, Diego Ulissi, Biniam Girmay and Thomass De Gendt. The peloton is currently a minute behind the flying Dutchman.
12:53 – Van der Poel, a man on a mission
146km to cover: The Dutchman started early with Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and then a host of others, including Astana’s Harold Tejada. But with Biniam Girmay one of the many trying to bridge the lead group, Van der Poel decided to take matters into his own hands by riding flawlessly. Will he try to take the solo victory at 146 km? Incredible scenes here in Naples…
A non-starter: Simon Carr
The EF Education-EasyPost climber did not start today. Illness must tear the team apart as they lost Owain Doull yesterday, so only one of their three British riders remains: Hugh Carthy, who is currently 17th overall at 2:20. He may not be the last DNF today given what awaits him…
12:45 p.m. – Stage 8 in progress!
153km to cover: After a slight delay which only increases the tension, the flag is waved and the first attacks follow one another. And look at that – Mathieu van der Poel is one of the riders unzipping the front… It bodes well.
Runners ready and correct on the starting line
Ciao ragazzi! Today is a world championship-style mini-circuit race in and around Naples, which the Giro is visiting for the first time in nine years. It ends with four laps of a bumpy circuit around the iconic southern Italian coastal town. Only 153km but lots of bumps and bumps – for a total of +2000m of elevation – that’s one for Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Girmay, you might be thinking…
The riders rode a short neutral section through the city and gathered at the start/finish line ahead of today’s intriguing stage, which will take place in glorious sunshine and with plenty of fans on the side of the streets against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Vesuvius…
Why is stage 8 going to be “absolutely crazy?”
Saturday will see a short and sharp Stage 8 – a 153km route around Naples – which will end with a sprint along the Via Caracciolo seafront after four laps of a 19km circuit between Bacoli and Monte di Procida. It contains 2,130 meters of climbing over hilly terrain, so it should be one for sprinters who don’t mind a bit of climbing. Adam Blythe, speaking on The Breakaway, described the scene as “absolutely bonkers”.
“This is going to be awesome,” Blythe began.
“We’re going to have a real little one-day race. It’s going to be fast, furious, with little laps, [there will be] climbs, descents. [Plus there are] terrible roads around Naples – there are also dogs running around, and there are trash fires in the middle of the road. Everything is going to be absolutely crazy.
“It’s going to be like a classic little race in the middle of a Grand Tour. It’s just going to be fast, furious, and I think it’s going to be open to attack, maybe even a sprint, maybe Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel -Premier Tech) could be there? Who knows? I’m rubbing my hands. I can’t wait.
What happened yesterday ?
The 2017 Giro champion was a key cog in the day’s breakaway, then came back into contention numerous times in a thrilling final before helping Bouwman to victory. The 28-year-old Bouwman pulled away from his teammate’s wheel to make light of the final double-digit ramp to the line and prevent compatriot Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Italy’s Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) in Potenza.
The biggest win of Bouwman’s career was completed with the blue jersey after earning maximum points on three of the day’s four categorized climbs – despite being pushed away halfway through the final climb of the day. day following scattergun attacks by Mollema and Formolo.
It was the outgoing blue jersey of Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) who led the main peloton at home just under three minutes behind as Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) secured the pink jersey of the race leader, who at one point was in the virtual hands of this man Bouwman.
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