Stage 8 of Giro d’Italia started as planned for the “orange squad”, as two of its riders fought their way into the breakaway of the day. Unfortunately the second part of the race didn’t unfold to CCC Sprandi Polkowice favor.
Info: Stage 8, May 13th, Molfetta – Peschici, 189km
Course: undulating (cat. 2 and cat. 4, punchy finish)
Duo to undulating, but not mountainous profile, it was one of the stages, in which breakaway had a big chance of succeeding. Thus, the pace was extremely high early on and many riders wanted to get into the main escape. CCC Sprandi Polkowice managed to materialize the plan for the stage kick-off perfectly, sending two men in the front – Maciej Paterski and Branislau Samoilau. They went clear with 14 other riders: Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin), Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates), Mirco Maestri, Vincenzo Albanese (both Bardiani-CSF), Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors), Chris Juul-Jensen (Orica-Scott), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Jan Barta, Lukas Postlberger and Gregor Muhlberger (all Bora-Hansgrohe).
The leading “16” was not let go easily, though. Gazprom-RusVelo and Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia were not happy with the composition of the group, since they missed out on early action. They ran the chase, bringing the gap down to under 1 minute.
Cat. 2 climb to Monte Sant’Angelo shattered the escape. Paterski fell behind and Samoailau crested the top in the 8-man chasing group, one minute behind solo leader, Sanchez. After the descend Spaniard got caught and few riders managed to bridge across from the bunch. “Rider in orange” entered final 50km of racing in 15-man group, with the gap of 4:20.
With 36km remaining Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida), Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Gregor Muhlberger (Bora Hansgrohe) and Luis Leon Sanchez attacked from the break. All of them, but Muhlberger, held on until the final 1km, while Samoilau got reeled in with 14km to go.
At the bottom of the final hill, that led to the line, Conti crashed on slippery and sharp turn. Izaguirre launched his attack soon after and didn’t let his rivals catch him. He beat Visconti and Sanchez.
Jan Hirt finished in 36th, while Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) defended the pink jersey.