“Orange squad” continues its breakaway streak in Giro d’Italia. On mountain stage to Campitello Matese it was Branislau Samoilau who was riding ahead of the peloton for most of the day. He was also the team’s top finisher.
It was a very lively and chaotic start of stage 8. Branislau Samoilau was involved in the first breakaway attempt, alongside 8 other riders. This move was neutralized though, and the pace in the bunch increased dramatically. It caused the group to split and only 40-50 runners left in the peloton. Belarusian was in it and attacked one more time making a 12-man escape. Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) pulled away from that break and for a long time he was a solo leader. Samoilau’s group which contained also Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) among others, was riding around 45 seconds behind the Dutchman. The gap between the front of the race and the bunch was at 8-9 minutes.
At halfway point, Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) and Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) joined Kruijswijk, and later Kristoff Vandevalle (Trek Factory Racing) did the same. Pellizotti didn’t stay in the lead for too long and came back to the chasers.
The leading trio kicked off the final ascent together, but it quickly fell apart. Kruijswijk took off one more time and Vandevalle followed him. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) and Sebastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling), who launched an attack from the chasing group (with Samoilau), were also trying to close the gap. Meanwhile the peloton picked up the pace and the advantage diminished to only 2:30 with 5km to go. Due to that high climbing speed the CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider was caught and later dropped from the favorites.
Eventually it was Intxausti who was the strongest and he grabbed the stage win. Mikel Landa (Astana) who pulled away late in the stage, took 2nd and Reichenbach was 3rd. Samoilau reached the top of the climb in 44th, 8:30 back.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained the GC lead. Sylwester Szmyd is the highest ranked “rider in orange” in 55th place.