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Giro d'Italia: Thomas De Gendt wins stage 8

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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Thomas De Gendt of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal celebrates winning ahead of Davide Gabburo of Italy and Team Bardiani CSF Faizane and Jorge Arcas Pea of Spain and Movistar Team during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Thomas De Gendt of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal celebrates winning ahead of Davide Gabburo of Italy and Team Bardiani CSF Faizane and Jorge Arcas Pea of Spain and Movistar Team during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) celebrates stage 8 victory as he crosses the line (Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 LR Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin Fenix Mauro Schmid of Switzerland and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl and Hailu Biniam Girmay of Eritrea and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux cross the finishing line during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Biniam Girmay of Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux crosses the finish ahead of Mauro Schmid of QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and well ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) (Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin Fenix disappointments at finish line during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) crosses the finish in seventh place (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Simone Ravanelli of Italy and Team Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli Sidermec competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Italian Simone Ravanelli of Drone Hopper - Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec in the four rider break (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Jorge Arcas Pea of Spain and Movistar Team leads The Breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Leading the foursome at the front of stage 8 is Jorge Arcas Peña of Movistar Team (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI, ITALY - MAY 14: Thomas De Gendt of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro d'Italia 2022, Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli / #Giro / #WorldTour / on May 14, 2022 in Napoli, Italy. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Thomas De Gendt of Lotto Soudal part of the four-rider break that formed just after 35km to go (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin Fenix competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) launched an attack with 45km to go (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 A general view of the peloton competing next to the Castel dellOvo at Napoli City Seaside during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Peloton passing through seaside fortress Napoli (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI, ITALY - MAY 14: Hailu Biniam Girmay of Eritrea and Team Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro d'Italia 2022, Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli / #Giro / #WorldTour / on May 14, 2022 in Napoli, Italy. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Biniam Girmay ofIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux competes in the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Mauro Schmid of Switzerland and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Mauro Schmid of QuickStep-AlphaVinyl competes in the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 LR Guillaume Martin of France and Team Cofidis and Davide Gabburo of Italy and Team Bardiani CSF Faizane compete in the breakaway during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Guillaume Martin of Team Cofidis and Davide Gabburo of Team Bardiani CSF Faizane compete in the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI, ITALY - MAY 14: Andrea Vendrame of Italy and AG2R Citroen Team (C) competes in the breakaway during the 105th Giro d'Italia 2022, Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli / #Giro / #WorldTour / on May 14, 2022 in Napoli, Italy. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Andrea Vendrame of AG2R Citroën at the front of the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI, ITALY - MAY 14: Simon Yates of United Kingdom and Team BikeExchange - Jayco competes during the 105th Giro d'Italia 2022, Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli / #Giro / #WorldTour / on May 14, 2022 in Napoli, Italy. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Simon Yates of Team BikeExchange-Jayco in the peloton (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Ben Zwiehoff of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Ramon Sinkeldam of Netherlands and Team Groupama FDJ and a general view of the peloton competing next to the Napoli seaside during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The peloton rides next to the Castel dellOvo at Napoli City during stage 8 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 A general view of the Peloton passing through Bacoli during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

An overhead view of peloton passing through Bacoli on 153km stage 8 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Lorenzo Fortunato of Italy Vincenzo Albanese of Italy Davide Bais of Italy Erik Fetter of Hungary Francesco Gavazzi of Italy Mirco Maestri of Italy Samuele Rivi of Italy Diego Rosa of Italy and EoloKometa Cycling Team during the team presentation at Plaza Plebiscito prior to the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Team presentation before stage 8 at Plaza Plebiscito (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Thomas De Gendt of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal celebrates winning the stage on the podium ceremony after the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Stage winner Thomas De Gendt celebrates (Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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NAPOLI ITALY MAY 14 Juan Pedro Lpez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo celebrates winning the pink leader jersey on the podium ceremony after the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 8 a 153km stage from Napoli to Napoli Giro WorldTour on May 14 2022 in Napoli Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Another day in maglia rosa for Juan Pedro López of Trek - Segafredo (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Thomas De Gendt of Lotto Soudal took the victory on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia in Naples, beating Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) and Movistar's Jorge Arcas after a long day in the breakaway group on an exceptionally attack-filled stage.

De Gendt rode with admirable aggression, finding himself in the initial breakaway from the stage outset and then breaking off into a leading group of five inside the final 40km.

He approached the final with a sprint from the back of the group at the 200-metre mark, helped by teammate Harm Vanhoucke setting pace at the front, and beat Gabburo and Arcas comfortably to the line. Gabburo managed only a fleeting chase behind him, and De Gendt was able to celebrate well in advance of the finish.

Behind them Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux) chased the leading group into the final kilometres, but were 15 seconds in arrears by the final sprint, Girmay placing fifth place. Mauro Schmid (Quickstep Alpha-Vinyl) managed to bridge back to the chasing group, and pipped Van der Poel to the line for sixth place.

“Today was one of those days that suits me,” De Gendt said following the stage win. “It looks a little bit like the Barcelona stage in Volta a Catalunya - always up and down. It's hard to recover. It's also hard to close the gap.”

“But 10 years after the Stelvio stage, I finally won a stage in the Giro again,” he added. “If you would have asked me two weeks ago, if I was able to win a stage in the Giro I would have said no because I was in such bad Shape. But now the good legs are coming.”

Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) continues in the leader's pink jersey for another day after he fended off an attack from second-placed Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the hilly stage finale. Elsewhere, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) retained their points and mountains classification leads.

How it unfolded

There was no wasting time today, as attacks came thick and fast after the race departed from the Piazza del Plebiscito in bustling central Naples. The neutralised zone was only 2.4km, and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) peeled off the front from the gun, alongside Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).

Expectations were high for Van der Poel, who was marked as the clear favourite for the stage win given its punchy profile. But despite the expectation, spectators and commentators were pleasantly surprised to see such an aggressive move from the outset.

Barely 10km had passed before Van der Poel broke away solo from a swelling group that bridged up to his initial attack. He was chased by De Gendt, Andrea Vendrame (Andrea Vendrame) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux), in a move that grew into a breakaway 21 riders in size with around 130km to go.

The breakaway proved to have staying power, and quickly extended out a gap of 1:40 with 125km to go.

A fairly orderly break was only mildly distrurbed by the first intermediate sprint at Lago Patria, where Girmay took the top spot.

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, a short but sharp ascent well-suited to attacks.

At only 153km in length, stage 8 would inevitably be animated, and so there was no surprise the peloton reached the 19km circuit with a blistering average speed of 47.1kph.

Trek-Segafredo were evidently unhappy with the composition of the break, placing their entire team at the front of the main peloton to drive the pace. They barely managed to make a dent in the breakaway’s lead, though, with other teams evidently happy to let the group drift away.

The break continued to work cohesively with only Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious) being spat out at the 88km to go mark. With 60km to go the gap to the 20-man group extended to three minutes.

With 46km to go, Van der Poel made his most aggressive move on the Lago Lucrino, amid its 14% steepest ramps. It set fire to the lead group, which took off in pursuit to reel in Van der Poel’s attack, which they quickly did.

Shortly afterward, a number of riders bridged to Van der Poel, a counter-attack came from a group containing Gabburo, Jorge Arcas (Movistar), De Gendt, Simone Ravanelli (Drone Hopper - Androni Giocattoli) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal).

The five-man breakaway group stretched out to 30 seconds by the final ascent of the Monte di Procida, with the peloton stretching out to a full 3:40 deficit with 35km to go - where Vanhoucke took the second intermediate sprint.

The chasing group was trimmed down to Van der Poel, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) and Girmay with Van der Poel. Girmay made a handful of aggressive but unsuccessful attacks.

Despite an aggressive chase from the pursuing group, the gap remained near 40 seconds with 20km remaining en route back to Naples city centre.

The Napoli finale

Sitting 10km from the finish came an uncategorised, unnamed, climb 5km in length, with some sharp 10% inclines.

It saw the gap between the lead group of five and the strong chasing group shrink down to 20 seconds, and suddenly a win from the leading group no longer seemed so assured.

Further back in the race, Lennard Kämna made an aggressive but ultimately unsuccessful move on race leader López.

With De Gendt’s group drifting into vision for the Van der Poel chasers at 5km to go, and Van der Poel and Girmay pulled away from the chasing group, largely thanks to their exceptional descending skills.

With 3km to go, it looked as though Van der Poel and Girmay would catch up to the lead group, but they held strong to a gap of 15 seconds.

At the very front, De Gendt made his attack from the front, with Gabburo able to hold on only briefly, and Arcas left in third position. Vanhoucke celebrated his fourth position alongside his teammate De Gendt.

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Peter Stuart has been editor of Cyclingnews since March 2022, overseeing editorial output across all of Cyclingnews' digital touchpoints.


Before joining Cyclingnews, Peter was the digital editor of Rouleur magazine. Starting life as a freelance feature writer, with bylines in The Times and The Telegraph, he first entered cycling journalism in 2012, joining Cyclist magazine as staff writer. Peter has a background as an international rower, representing Great Britain at Under-23 level and at the Junior Rowing World Championships.

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