Aggressive riding by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) landed him in the final break on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia and he capitalised on that position with a well-timed sprint to victory in Naples on Saturday.
Teammate Harm Vanhoucke was setting the pace on the front when, 200 metres out, the Belgian veteran launched from the back of the small lead group , comfortably beating second-placed Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) and third-placed Jorge Arcas (Movistar) to the line. It was De Gendt's second Giro d'Italia stage win, with his first coming atop the Passo dello Stelvio a decade ago.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) started proceedings on stage 8 with a solo attack in the first 10km of the 153km stage. He was first chased by De Gendt, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën Team) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux) and then others joined to make it a lead group of 21 riders.
After 48km, the race entered the 19km circuit around Bacoli, which consisted of four laps taking in the category 4 climb Monte di Procida (2.1km at 6.2%) alongside Lago Lucrino, which proved a playground for multiple attacks. The lead group dwindled to just five riders with 40km to go, which contained Gabburo, Arcas, De Gendt, Simone Ravanelli (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Vanhoucke.
A group with Van der Poel and Girmay tried to make the catch with 3km to go, but they were not able to eliminate a 15-second gap.
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) continued in the maglia for another day, with Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) still in second overall. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) remained the points leader and Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) retained his mountains classification lead.
Watch the highlights of the opening stage above.
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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).
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