Victor Lafay – Victor Lafayfrom the break before Attila Valter retains Giro d’Italia lead – REUTERS.
At least for the general classification contenders, a relatively benign first week at the Giro d’Italia will give way to a severe first test of the legs on Sunday. Stage nine features six climbs, two uncategorized, and an intriguing finish on the category one Rocca di Cambio. Thisends with a gravel track that includes sections of 10 percent.
Britain’s Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) and(BikeExchange) will be among those hoping to have emerged unscathed from a stressful few days of poor weather and frequent crashes. Carthy, who finished on the podium of Vuelta an España, sits fifth overall after eight stages of the race, 38 seconds behind Groupama-FDJ’s maglia rosa Attila Valter.
Yates, who won the 2018 Vuelta having gone incredibly close to winning the Giro that year, is a further 11 seconds back in ninth overall. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) are the two best-placed riders of the overall favorites. They lie second and third on general classification at 11 and 16 seconds.
Evenepoel, a 21-year-old Belgian prodigy racing in his first, only returned to full training in February following a nasty crash at last year’s Tour of Lombardy. There is a lot of interest in seeing how the 2019 world silver medallist will fare over the coming weeks.
Evenepoel gave an intriguing interviewin which he claimed he had felt “tired” in the evenings post-racing. He did not appear to suffer unduly, in the group of favorites alongside Bernal, Carthy, and Yates.
But it was difficult to tell whether he had been sandbagging or would have been in trouble had anyone decided to attack him on the final climb to Guardia Sanframondi, which was 3km long at an average of 6.9 percent. None of the leading contenders chose to save themselves for today’s much more challenging test.
“Remco Evenepoel is already a huge name, but this will make him the King of Belgium.” Sean Kelly, commentating on Eurosport, said Evenepoel would crown the King of Belgium if he could pull off a Giro. “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 , the Belgians, my god, will be crazy,” Kelly said. Johan De Muynck was the last Belgian to in 1978.
The general classification contenders were a good few minutes down on stage winner, Cofidis’ Victor Lafay, who claimed the team’s firstsince 2010. Meanwhile, sprinter Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), winner of stages five and seven, with his crew, claiming he was suffering from knee pain.
“I need to do what’s best in preparation for the Tour [de France], “Ewan said on Friday. “Unfortunately, sprinters’ legs don’t recover like any other riders, and if I finished the Giro now, I would be dying for theThe 26-year-old had already said that he was targeting stage wins at each of the three grand tours this year.
No change in the general classification
(Ineso Grenadiers), Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step), and Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) all cross the line in the same group as maglia rosa Attila Valter. (BikeExchange) was also there, as was Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech). Some are no-time losses for any of the general classification contenders.
Crash in the peloton!
EF Education-Nippo moves to the front of the pack as it edges up this final climb. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) and Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe) crash, but none of the leading contenders are involved, which is a worrying moment for everybody.
Lafay wins stage eight at the Giro!
Bravo, Victor Lafay! The young Cofidisof his career, yet another breakaway that went all the way at the Giro. Speaking immediately after his victory, Lafay said: “I spent a lot of energy already in the first part of the stage to get into the breakaway. There were several attempts, but the peloton didn’t leave much space. Once the gap started to increase, I was able to recover some energy. Then finally, the breakaway went clear.
“In the, there were several attacks. I attacked in the last few kilometers and saw no one following me. I cannot believe it; I have just won a Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa) is second, while Nikias Arndt (DSM) rolls over third before the focus switches to the leading group that will follow soon with all of the general classification contenders.
500 meters to go
Big crowds in the, cheering Victor Lafay.
1km to go
Victor Lafay peers over his shoulder, looking for Francesco Gavazzi. The young Frenchman looks twitchy, but he may do this.
1.5km to go
The rosy-cheeked Victor Lafay looks suitable for this, rising out of his saddle as the road ramps up. Francesco Gavazzi is, but the Italian may have left it too late.
2km to go
Victor Lafay is the lone leader, but can the 25-year-old from Lyonof his professional career?
2.5km to go
Victor Lafay is in pursuit. The Cofidis man catches Victor Campenaerts before latching onto the wheel of Giovanni Carboni.
3km to go
Giovanni Carboni rounds Victor Campenaerts before riding the Belgian off his wheel.
3.5km to go
Victor Campenaerts slouches over his handlebars, thethe way into this final climb with Giovanni Carboni on his wheel.
5km to go
Victor Campenaerts and Giovanni Carboni have managed to escape off the front, with Alexis Gougeard chasing at 10sec back. The peloton trails by 5min 30sec.
This a reminder of what the organizers are saying about the final climb
“Theis approx 3 km long. The gradient hovers around 10% for the first 2km, with sharper peaks. The pitch returns to milder gradients in Guardia Sanframondi and then kicks up again with 400 m to go after a left-hander. The home straight is on a tarmac road and a slight incline.”
6.5km to go
Isrealshifts towards the front of the peloton. Is feeling good today, and is the Irishman going to launch a minor attack on the final climb of the day?
8km to go
A little like the beginning of today’s frenetic stage, attacks are coming wave after wave. Still, thus far, nobody has been able to snap that invisible elastic that binds them to their breakaway compatriots. Time for the Portuguese Nelson Oliveira to have a crack.
10km to go
Two Belgians – Victor Campenaerts and Kobe Goossens – attack off the front while Fernando Gaviria labors at the back. Campenaerts and Goossens’ moves are short-lived, though. Alexis Gougeard strikes again; the Ag2r-Citroën rider is reined back in.
11km to go
Game over for Frenchman Alexis Gougeard. For now, at least.
13km to go
Back in the peloton, the general classification teams are all lined out information as theyto today’s stage, where there is a short climb at the end. At the same time, Alexis Gougeardhasa attacked off the front of the break, pursuing personal glory.
16km to go
The breakaway – Nikias Arndt (DSM), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Fernando Gaviria (Emirates), Kobe Goossens (Lotto-Soudal), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-Citroën), Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) – is altogether. Still, their .
19km to go . . .
. . . and worldholder Victor Campenaerts sets off up the road. However, the Belgian’s time out in front is short-lived after he is reined back in. Groupama-FDJ remains sat on the front of the peloton, but will they be able to keep hold of the maglia rosa?
20km to go . . .
. . . and the breakaway stillof 6min 12sec.
21.5km to go
Nikias Arndt (DSM) attacks but is closed down quickly. Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) fell out of the back but got back on.
25km to go
Fernando Gaviria has gotten back on, tagging into the back of the breakaway with his tattered rain jacket flapping in the wind.
30km to go
On the same corner as Fernando Gaviria crashed, Antione Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) almost came a cropper. Minutes later, he overcooked another corner as if auditioning to become an Ilnur Zakarin cycling double (the Russian is a notoriously poor descender).
Gaviria, meanwhile, is being helped along by the medical car as one of the doctors attends to his wounds – while also assisting the sprinter up a small climb. The race commissaries may have something to say later this afternoon; one suspects the from the Colombian.
Crash! Gaviria down . . .
Fernando Gaviria just hit the deck after misjudging a bend to the right. For some reason, the sprinter clipped off the front of the break and, once up the road, lost control and skidded into a concrete wall that would have hurt but may havehim from going over the edge. The UAE Team Emirates rider remounted but lost over 30 seconds on the remaining eight breakaway riders.
40km to go
The breakaway is descending pretty fast, and thankfully, the forecast of rain has not come to fruition. There are, however, dark billowy clouds overhead, poised and threatening to empty themselves on the dry road ahead of the peloton’s arrival just shy of six minutes back.
47km to go
Over the top of the Bocca, Della Selva goes the breakaway, some riders opting for gilets, others stuff copies of La Gazzetta Dello Sport down the front of their jerseys. The peloton continues climbing.
Evenepoel admits he may be feeling ‘tired.’
Speaking with Eurosport ahead of today’s stage, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) said he was looking forward to Tuesday’s rest day. The young Belgian n riding his first year’s Giro d’Italia.and has not raced since a career-threatening crash at last year’s Il Lombardia. The 21-year-old is front-page news back home in Belgium, where the cycling-mad public and media are convinced that their man will win this
After making waves in the junior ranks in 2018, Evenepoel announced himself to the world in Innsbruck, where he blew away the under-18 fields in the world championshipand road races. The Belgian media wasted little time in comparing him to the greatest of all time. Evenepoel, however, was having none of it. “Being the new is not something I want to hear,” he told reporters after winning his second rainbow jersey in Austria. “I want to be somebody new. I’m the new me”.
Is rain on the horizon?
A few riders were just spotted picking up rain jackets from their team cars, suggesting that there may be rain on the other side of this climb. Following the drenchings they have dealt with earlier in the race, one suspect’s nobody will welcome another downpour – if, indeed, one is in the post.
55km to go
A few conversations happened during the breakaway. Anyone’s guessed what is being said, but perhaps Victor Campenaerts is asking the strong-looking Italian Giovanni Carboni to knock it off a click or two, given they have a decent lead over the peloton – that’s what Adam Blythe, speaking on Eurosport, reckons anyway.
58km to go
Dan Martin (Israel Start-up Nation) has had a mechanical issue that came a few minutes after the Kiwi George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) was held up after appearing to ship his chain. Groupama-FDJ continues pulling on the front of the peloton, theby 7min 25sec.
62km to go
Both the breakaway and the peloton are onto the Bocca Della Selva. It looks like a relatively easy climb – a reasonably shallow gradient that can easily be ridden in the big ring –but one imagines some riderson this long slope.
Riding a climb like this is one thing, but it can be another racing if you have a. A typically mixed surface that weaves through small villages with plenty of trees lining the road.
Fact or fiction?
65km to go
Here’s a pretty wonderful picture of Japanese rider Fumiyuki Beppu who isn’t riding at this year’s Giro d’Italia – although he completed four race editions between 2011 and 2015 – but presumably is following the progress of his EF Education-Nippo teammates.
The breakaway, by the way, has increased its lead to 7min 19sec.
75km to go
The riders in the breakaway are working well together, riding through and off with each man doing his turn as they approach the category two Bocca Della Selva. Their lead over the peloton has increased now to 6min 50sec. The peloton looks pretty relaxed, with riders taking the opportunity of a quiet period on the stage to chat with teammates and catch up with their pals from rival squads.
Gaviria wins the intermediate sprint.
Fernando Gaviria, once again, went for a long one. Still, unlike yesterday when the Colombian sprinter was overhauled by Caleb Ewan et al., he beat the rest of the breakaway riders with relative ease to add 12 points to his account in the, er, points classification.
85km to go
Victor Campenaerts appears to have not quite caught his breath following that earlier effort to chase down the breakaway. He must regain his composure pretty soon as the first categorized climb of the day, the Bocca Della Selva, is around 15km away.
90km to go
The nine-man breakaway has gained a decent-sized advantage on the peloton, holding around the five-minute mark. Race leader Attila Valter has his Groupama-FDJ teammates riding on the front as the French squad works to protect the Manila rosa on the shoulders of the young Hungarian, followed closely by.
Ewan update… of sorts
Various reports claimed Caleb Ewan abandoned theinto a tunnel. However, RAI, the host broadcaster in Italy, says the Lotto-Soudal sprinter had already been dropped.
Today, by the way, was the first day Ewan had worn the maglia calamine, the cyclamen jersey, as a leader in the points classification at the Giro, which also happened to fall on the 39th anniversary of the first Australian toat the race – Michael Wilson in Cortona on May 15, 1982. One of Ewan’s key goals this season is winning background in all three grand tours in the same season, and so one suspects he will be heading home to Monaco today or tomorrow before his preparations for the start in earnest.
As previously reported, the organizers got their sums wrong and breakaway gaps in 1min 20sec, not 32sec.
And then there were nine . . .
Your man Victor Campenaerts has bridged over to the breakaway, which leads the peloton by just 32sec. The Belgian is taking a little breather on the back of the, tucked in behind Nikias Arndt (DSM), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Kobe Goossens (Lotto-Soudal), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-Citroën), Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar).
Hello Breakaway, we have been expecting you.
It comprises eight riders, and Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) is there. At the same time, Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) island, the world hour record holder off in pursuit of the late breakaway.
As it stands . . .
Well, the day has been a frenetic start once the 177-man peloton rolled through KM0 at 11.53 am (BST). The opening 20-25 kilometers were, so the threat of splits in the crosswinds created a nervous environment, particularly for those with general classification ambitions. It was pretty cloudy near the beginning, though at 21°C, a decent temperature.
An early breakaway went up the road, but once the riders realized(Ineos Grenadiers) was riding alongside them, a few choice words and dramatic gestures were tossed in the Colombian’s direction is third in the standings. Shortly after that, got on the front, causing further panic before it all calmed down.
However, no sooner had things calmed down than it all started again. Numerous, wave after wave. Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) and Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech) appeared to have escaped the peloton’s clutches, but the pair soon reined in. Next, (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) was next to give it a go, but again, he could not create a severe advantage.
Having completed 50km of the stage, the peloton is all together, albeit somewhat stretched out, asof the bunch. However, one rider that has managed a lone breakaway is Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), who has abandoned the race.
Highlights from Friday’s stage: Ewan strikes again
Beforefrom Telegraph Sport gets underway at 1 pm – here’s a brief reminder of what happened yesterday on the long road to Termoli . . .
Possible stage winners?
Tomorrow sis be a day more done to the general classification contenders. Despite 3,400 metical elevation, much of the climbing is not too steep and will suit those big powerful riders, unlike the more natural climber types. The stage appears ideally suited to a breakaway, particularly given that the final climb is not incredibly long.
Luis León Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech) typicallylike this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spaniard attempted to get in the breakaway. Likewise, (Trek-Segafredo) may have a go, though it remains to be seen if he has recovered from his exertions during Thursday’s stage when the Dutchman put in a considerable shift. Another Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo). In all honesty, I could probably list 10 or 20 possible – Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-Citroën), (Bahrain Victorious), Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates), and so forth.
Today’s stage is due to get underway at 11.50 am (BST), while our live coverage kicks off at 1 pm, by which point we suspect the peloton – and in all likelihood, a decent-sized breakaway – will have reached the first unclassified climb of the day, the Passo del Lupo.
The official website describes the“This stage across the Apennines features one single lengthy climb and a steep, challenging kick just before the finish. At first, the roads to Campobasso.
Stage eight profile
“The riders then reach the Matese Mountains to negotiate the Bocca Della Selva climb (over 20 km), followed by a long descent that ends 10 km before the finish. The route then rises to the finish with a sharp kick before in.
Bocca Della Selva
“The closing climb is approx 3 km long. The gradient hovers around 10% for the first 2km, with sharper peaks. The pitch returns to milder gradients in Guardia Sanframondi and then kicks up again with 400 m to go after a left-hander. The home straight is on a tarmac road and a slight incline.”
Hello and welcome to our live blog from stage eight at the Giro d’Italia, the 170-kilometer run from Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi. Following yesterday’s set, which was won very impressively by Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), other than the Aussie taking hold of the points jersey, there were no significant changes in the jersey classifications. Here’s what the top threes currently look like . . .
Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), the 22-year-old Hungarian, holds the top spot in both the general and youth classification and will be dressed in the maglia rosa, or the. As mentioned, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took hold of the points competition after winning his second stage at this Giro d’Italia. Today, he will wear the maglia calamine, the Cyclamen jersey.
With just one small climb in yesterday’s stage – where the three-person breakaway took the points – Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) kept hold of the top spot and so goes into Saturday’smaglia Azzurra, the blue jersey. The top three in the youth classification mirror that of the overall. So Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will wear the maglia Bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of Valter.