Giro d'Italia: Victor Lafay wins stage 8 from the break

Victor Lafay (Cofidis) won stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia on yet another day where the breakaway succeeded. 

The 25-year-old Frenchman was the strongest of nine escapees on the final climb, catching Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) 2.2km from the finish after the Italian had attacked earlier on the climb, and then holding off a late charge from Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), who finished second. 

Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) finished safely in a peloton that had been reduced to 26 riders on the final climb that featured most of the GC contenders, meaning he holds on to the pink jersey. Caleb Ewan abandoned mid-way through the stage.

The only GC names that were missing were Jai Hindley (Team DSM), who lost eleven seconds, and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), who finished thirty seconds adrift after being caught out in a crash just a few kilometres from the finish, while Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix) slid from fifth to tenth from also missing the split. 

But the main focus of the day was the breakaway, which formed after a long, competitive battle at the start of the stage.

“It was a very tough day, to make the breakaway was very difficult,” said the victorious Lafay at the finish. “But when it was gone, the peloton let us have seven minutes, so we could recover a little.”

After it was clear that the peloton was happy to let the break succeed, it all came down to the final climb to decide which of the nine would win the stage. 

“The finish was hard, about a ten-minute effort...I knew that [the others in the break] were not climbers. [Nelson] Oliveira was the best one, so I kept an eye on him. But I was confident with my legs, and I attacked with 3km to go. I don’t believe that I’ve just won!”

After making that attack, it wasn’t long before he caught the earlier attacker, Giovanni Carboni, who had looked as though he might hang on.

But Lafay flew past him with no problem and soloed all the way to the top to seal a landmark result in his career, and Cofidis’ first Giro stage win since 2010.

How it unfolded

The undulating terrain and an uphill finish that didn’t look hard enough to make this a fully-fledged GC stage meant this looked likely to be another day of a breakaway to succeed, and indeed there was an almighty battle at the start of the day to get into the day’s break.

Even GC riders got involved in the battle, with Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) at one point being part of a group that got away.

He was brought back, but there were still more scares to come for some GC riders as crosswinds further complicated the exhausting opening. Overall leader Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) was caught out when the peloton split into smaller groups, along with GC riders like Romain Bardet (Ag2r Citroen) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) but once again eventually everything came back together. 

At last, about 50km into the stage, an eight-man group succeeded in gaining a substantial gap over the peloton, and was made up of no threats to the GC: Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R Citroën), Nikias Arndt (DSM), Victor Lafay (Cofidis), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). 

The peloton was happy with the make-up of the group, and sat up, giving everyone a much-needed great.

Everyone, that is, apart from Victor Campanaerts (Qhubeka Assos), who had set off in pursuit of the leading octet and had to dig deep before eventually joining them after chasing for about 10km. 

Amid all the breathless action, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) had abandoned the race after being distanced. The Australian had been wearing the maglia ciclamino as leader of the points classification, so Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) became the new leader. 

With the race settled down, the break’s gap got bigger and bigger, reaching over seven minutes by the start of the day’s long centerpiece climb, the category two Bocca Della Selva.

With the peloton taking it easy behind, the nine escapees were able to ride the climb at a steady pace and remained together at the top, where Goossens gained maximum points ahead of Arndt and Gavazzi. 

Similarly, the peloton remained largely together, with only Simon Yates (BikeExchange) and Dan Martin (Israel StartUp Nation) having no problem rejoining after each having mechanical problems. 

Gaviria was the first of the break to attack when he accelerated on the descent of Bocca Della Selva, only to crash moments later. Despite suffering cuts to his right arm and leg, he managed to catch back up to the leading group, albeit with some assistance from the medical car he received treatment from. 

Having reached the bottom of the descent, it was clear that the break would contest for the stage win, prompting some from the group who didn’t fancy their chances on the final climb to go long. Campanaerts and Gougeard each put in a number of attacks prior to that climb, but neither was able to go clear. 

At the start of the climb, Goosens was first to attack, but couldn’t open a gap on what were shallow gradients. 

More attacks followed, and Campanaerts and Carboni succeeded in going clear 8km from the finish, with Gougeard caught in between them and the rest of the break. Gougeard was eventually swallowed back up, but the leading duo held a gap of about 10 seconds.

Carboni then dropped Campanaerts 3km from the finish, using his lighter weight to his advantage on the steeper gradients. 

By now the chasers behind were panicking each starting to attack one another rather than work together. Nonetheless, Lafay had the legs to break clear from the rest, then catch Carboni and leave him for dead 2.2km from the finish.

Just when it looked as though Lafay had made the stage win in the bag, Gavazzi then started to chase him down, also catching and passing Carboni and bringing Lafay to within his sights. 

But Lafay’s advantage remained at around 20 seconds, which was enough for him to take the victory.

Back in the peloton, there were no attacks from any of the GC men, although the likes of Israel Start-Up Nation and Ineos Grenadiers upped the pace on the final climb.

A late crash disrupted Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) and Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe), but they were both able to remount and make it to the finish.

There was no major change on the GC as the favourites pretty much all finished together. But tomorrow's stage, which features a finishing climb with very steep gradients and gravel sectors, will be a whole other matter.

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Full results
1Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis4:06:47
2Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team0:0:36
3Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM0:0:37
4Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:0:41
5Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'0:0:44
6Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:0:58
7Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos0:01:00
8Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team0:01:54
9Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates0:03:04
10João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:04:48
11Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier TechRow 10 - Cell 2
12Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 11 - Cell 2
13Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 12 - Cell 2
14Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos GrenadiersRow 13 - Cell 2
15Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain VictoriousRow 14 - Cell 2
16Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos GrenadiersRow 16 - Cell 2
18Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchangeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Team BikeExchangeRow 18 - Cell 2
20Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSMRow 19 - Cell 2
21Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 20 - Cell 2
22Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 21 - Cell 2
23Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-NippoRow 22 - Cell 2
24Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-VismaRow 24 - Cell 2
26Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up NationRow 25 - Cell 2
27Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 26 - Cell 2
28George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-VismaRow 27 - Cell 2
29Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJRow 28 - Cell 2
30Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 29 - Cell 2
31Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos GrenadiersRow 30 - Cell 2
32Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 31 - Cell 2
33Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-VismaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier TechRow 33 - Cell 2
35Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 34 - Cell 2
36Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team BikeExchange0:04:54
37Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM0:04:59
38Jai Hindley (Aus) Team DSMRow 37 - Cell 2
39Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux0:05:06
40Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 39 - Cell 2
41Tanel Kangert (Est) Team BikeExchangeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo0:05:10
43Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix0:05:13
44Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team0:05:16
45Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious0:05:18
46Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-up NationRow 45 - Cell 2
47Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 46 - Cell 2
48Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 47 - Cell 2
49Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis0:05:27
50Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:05:38
51Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier TechRow 50 - Cell 2
52Lars van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ0:05:40
53Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech0:05:43
54Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo0:05:48
55Harold Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana-Premier TechRow 54 - Cell 2
56Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM0:05:58
58Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious0:06:02
59Callum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchange0:06:05
60Andrii Ponomar (Ukr) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:06:18
61Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 61 - Cell 2
63Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team0:06:35
64Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:06:45
65Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:06:53
66Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 65 - Cell 2
67Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 66 - Cell 2
68Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious0:07:26
69Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up NationRow 68 - Cell 2
70Rémy Rochas (Fra) CofidisRow 69 - Cell 2
71Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team0:08:08
72Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:08:27
73Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-NippoRow 72 - Cell 2
74Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education-NippoRow 73 - Cell 2
75Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 74 - Cell 2
76Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-NippoRow 75 - Cell 2
77Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education-NippoRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos GrenadiersRow 78 - Cell 2
80Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 79 - Cell 2
81Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 80 - Cell 2
82Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 81 - Cell 2
83Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation0:08:44
84Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up NationRow 83 - Cell 2
85Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain VictoriousRow 84 - Cell 2
86Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-VismaRow 86 - Cell 2
88Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 87 - Cell 2
89Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 88 - Cell 2
90Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'0:08:50
93Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:08:55
94Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo0:09:32
95Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team DSM0:09:40
96Paul Martens (Ger) Jumbo-VismaRow 95 - Cell 2
97Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 96 - Cell 2
98Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-VismaRow 97 - Cell 2
99Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier TechRow 101 - Cell 2
103Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier TechRow 102 - Cell 2
104Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation0:09:43
105Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos GrenadiersRow 104 - Cell 2
106Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:10:14
107Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix0:10:16
108Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 107 - Cell 2
109Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Bahrain Victorious0:10:28
110Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 109 - Cell 2
111Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 110 - Cell 2
112Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 111 - Cell 2
113Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 112 - Cell 2
114James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 113 - Cell 2
115Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:10:40
116Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers0:10:46
117Nico Denz (Ger) Team DSM0:11:14
118Márton Dina (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:11:29
120Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo0:11:36
121Michael Hepburn (Aus) Team BikeExchange0:12:12
122Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:13:00
123Senne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 122 - Cell 2
124Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cofidis0:13:49
125Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 124 - Cell 2
126Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJRow 125 - Cell 2
127Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 126 - Cell 2
128Natnael Berhane (Eri) CofidisRow 127 - Cell 2
129Umberto Marengo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 128 - Cell 2
130Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 129 - Cell 2
131Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
132Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 131 - Cell 2
133Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up NationRow 132 - Cell 2
134Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier TechRow 133 - Cell 2
135Filippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 134 - Cell 2
136Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 135 - Cell 2
137Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 136 - Cell 2
138Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 137 - Cell 2
139Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-FenixRow 138 - Cell 2
140Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 139 - Cell 2
141Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSMRow 140 - Cell 2
142Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 141 - Cell 2
143Edward Ravasi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 142 - Cell 2
144Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain VictoriousRow 143 - Cell 2
145Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 144 - Cell 2
146Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 145 - Cell 2
147Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 146 - Cell 2
148Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 147 - Cell 2
149Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchangeRow 149 - Cell 2
151Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) UAE Team EmiratesRow 150 - Cell 2
152Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 151 - Cell 2
153Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 152 - Cell 2
154Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 153 - Cell 2
155Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 154 - Cell 2
156Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos0:14:11
157Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 156 - Cell 2
158Elia Viviani (Ita) CofidisRow 157 - Cell 2
159Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto SoudalRow 158 - Cell 2
160Simone Consonni (Ita) CofidisRow 159 - Cell 2
161Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 160 - Cell 2
162Samuele Rivi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 161 - Cell 2
163Mauro Schmid (Swi) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 162 - Cell 2
164Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 163 - Cell 2
165Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 164 - Cell 2
166Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 165 - Cell 2
167Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos GrenadiersRow 166 - Cell 2
168Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-FenixRow 167 - Cell 2
169Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 168 - Cell 2
170Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team BikeExchangeRow 169 - Cell 2
171Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 170 - Cell 2
172David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma0:17:19
173Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-VismaRow 172 - Cell 2
174Attilio Viviani (Ita) CofidisRow 173 - Cell 2
175Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 174 - Cell 2
176Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:18:00
DNFCaleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 176 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Campobasso km. 84
1Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates12
2Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team8
3Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM6
4Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team5
5Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team4
6Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'3
7Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal2
8Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis1
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Sprint 2 - Guardia Sanframondi km. 170
1Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis25
2Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team18
3Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM12
4Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team8
5Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'6
6Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal5
7Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos4
8Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team3
9Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates2
10João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep1
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Bonus Sprint 1 - Castelvenere km. 162.7
1Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos0:0:3
2Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'0:0:2
3Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team0:0:1
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Mountain 1 - Bocca della Selva km. 120.2
1Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal18
2Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM8
3Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team6
4Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team4
5Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team2
6Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis1
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Mountain 2 - Guardia Sanframondi km. 170
1Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis3
2Francesco Ga