Skip to main content
Live coverage

As it happened: Ben Healy takes solo win on Giro d'Italia stage 8 as GC disrupted


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia.

After yesterday’s damp squib of a stage, in which none of the GC riders made any attacks on the first proper mountain top finish of the race, we’re hoping for more excitement today. Although this one doesn’t finish with a climb, the punchy uphills in the finale could draw the pink jersey contenders out, while the terrain should incentivise strong riders to get into the breakaway. 

The day has certainly got off to a dramatic start. News has broken this morning that Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) has had to withdraw from the race.

Ganna’s positive comes the day before what was one of his main targets for the Giro, the stage nine time trial. But on another scale it also sparks fears of a more widespread Covid outbreak in the peloton. There will be an awareness in the the peloton that any riders’ Giro could come to an end in an instant.

While Ganna isn’t starting today (nor Lars van den Berg, another non-starter), 167 riders still are, and they’ve just set off in the neutralised zone.

The weather looks quite mild for now, with none of the rain that has affected the race so much so far.

The stage is set for a real fight to get into the breakaway once the flag drops in a few minutes time. The road tilts up with an uncategorised climb from the start, and the parcours as a whole looks in the sweet spot of being too hard for the sprinters and not hard enough for the GC men. And after Davide Bais was the surprise victor from yesterday's stage, perhaps more riders will be encouraged to try and follow in his footsteps today?


Attacks right from the off led by Mads Würtz Schmidt

Jake Stewart is now pushing on the front and has a couple of riders behind, plus many more smaller groups in pursuit

Now about 20 riders have formed a group at the front, including, surprisingly, race leader Andreas Leknessund

They’ve been dragged back by the peloton and the race has come back together. 

An EOLO Kometa rider is at the front of a new group of over a dozen riders that’s now at the front, but the elastic isn’t snapping

Meanwhile at the back of the peloton, David Dekker has been dropped

Brandon McNulty and Ben Helay are two big names looking especially lively during this opening. Both are around the first wheels at the front of the race still trying to go clear


Primož Roglič was briefly caught the wrong side of a split in the peloton, but his Jumbo-Visma teammates helped bring them back together

The leading quartet are committed and working well together, but the rest of the peloton aren’t done yet and riders are still attacking each other to try and also get up the road

It's now about a twelve second lead for the quartet. Erik Fetter and Samuele Battistella briefly pursed the out of the peloton, bt have been reabsorbed now

175km TO GO

Mark Cavendish is having a lengthy talk to the commissaire’s cars at the back of the peloton. He’s quite animated, and clearly isn’t happy about something. Not clear what he’s talking about though…

The advantage might just be swinging towards the leading quartet. There’s visible frustration in the front of the peloton, where moves are constantly being shut down but no inroads are being made to the leaders, who are now almost 20 seconds ahead

Astana have been particularly active in attacking today, with multiple riders trying to get up to the leaders, but so far no dice. They’re now leading the chase in the peloton, which is still at about 20 seconds adrift.

Now Jayco-AlUla have taken over from Astana. Do they have their eyes on the intermediate sprint coming up in a few kilometres, for Michael Matthews?

Jayco-AlUla’s pace has had an effect, too, bridging the gap back down to about 10 seconds. It’s small enough in fact for Toms Skujiņš to bridge over to them on his own, meaning we now have a leading quintet rather than quartet.

Could this be it? The pace has slowed drastically in the peloton, and the gap is up to almost 20 seconds again

Not if Jake Stewart has anything to do with it. He’s attacked from the peloton and is trying to bridge up alone.


Now the spriters get active for the intermediate sprint. Jonathan Milan comes past Mads Pedersen at the line, with Groves and Matthews behind. They caught Stewart and the Astana rider in time, meaning Milan sprint sees him take sixth place in the sprint behind the leaders

That means Milan takes 3 points, Pedersen 2, and Groves 1. Milan slightly extends his lead in the points classification

That sprint inevitably saw the peloton eat into the leaders’ gap, but they’ve re-established their advantage in the aftermath. In fact, it’s now the biggest it’s been so far, and is approaching half a minute

Here’s a glimpse of our break earlier in the day, before they were joined by Skujiņš


Even Michael Matthews is having a go at attacking from the peloton. Mads Pedersen is right on his wheel though, marking his for his Trek-Segafredo teammate up the road, Toms Skujiņš.

A six-man chase group has now formed in pursuit of the leaders, including Italian champion Filippo Zanna

The formation of that chase group might finally have taken the impetus out of the peloton. The pace has slowed down and the chase group has daylight over them. 


...or is it? Yet more riders have tried their luck with attacks from the peloton, prompting them to chase again

There’s still about 20 seconds between the leading quintet and the chasing sextet. Here’s a full run-down of the pursuers: 

Behind the chase group is Warren Barguil, who is going hard in a last ditch attempt to join them

Unfortunately there are a couple of abandonments to report. Florian Stork (DSM) and David Dekker (Arkéa Samsic) are out of the race. The latter was hurt in the finish line crash a few days ago that Cavendish fell at

Good news for Arkea's teammate Warren Barguil, who has joined the chase group. Impressive stuff considering he had nobody to help him

Meanwhile the peloton has now, definitively, sat up. They're now 3 minutes behind the leaders 

There is still one rider out there in between the chase group and the peloton: Oscar Riesebeek. He’s ploughing a lonely furrow, though, stranded over two minutes ahead of the peloton, but also a minute behind the chase group.

With the peloton having eased up, the big question now is whether the two front groups will merge. You sense the leading five won’t want to allow so many more riders into contention for the stage win, let alone when now among them is a rider as strong as Warren Barguil.


DSM are at the front of the peloton and riding tempo, allowing the gap to grow to over four minutes. Warren Barguil is the highest-place rider on GC in the break at 6-39, so they can’t afford to let them have too much leeway in protection of Leknessund’s pink jersey, but you suspect they will be happy at the make-up of the group.

Although the break has been allowed up the road with a proper gap, that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to contest for the stage win. There still might be team eager to bring them back for the punchy stage finale to go for a stage win, and DSM are currently keeping the gap pegged at 4 minutes.

With a lull in the racing here at the Giro, now’s a good time to check out what’s going on in the rest of the cycling world. Over in the Basque Country, the second stage of the women’s Itzulia has just concluded. You can read about what happened here

We’d forgotten all about him, but Oscar Riesebeek has just appeared in the leading group, having seemed condemned to no-man’s land. An incredible effort by the Dutch rider

Mattia Bais, whose brother Davide won yesterday’s stage, has gone over the intermediate sprint first in the break, ahead of Alessandro Tonelli and Alessandro Iacchi. Only three, two, and one bonus seconds were available at this one, and nothing in the points classification

Bike change for Carlos Verona in the breakaway. Is it a tactical switch to take on the upcoming steep climbs?

103.5KM TO GO

Another bike change for Verona. Maybe he is having technical problems rather than tacical switches

Peloton at Giro

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Evenepoel’s looking very relaxed in the peloton, sharing a few words with a Soudal-QuickStep teammate. He’s not exactly inconspicuous in the rainbow stripes, but has eased some of the attention and pressure on himself since passing on the pink jersey a few days ago.


A similar finale also featuring the Cappuccini climb was also used in a 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico stage, which gives us some indication as to what to expect at the end of this stage. The gradients are very steep, which will favour the climbers in the break, and were also hard enough for Primož Roglič to go clear from the peloton with just a few other GC contenders. So there’s potential for some GC action today.

Of the riders in the break, Barguil has the best climbing pedigree, with multiple stage wins at both the Tour and the Vuelta to his name. He needs one in the Giro to complete the clean sweep.


Unusually, two of the riders in the break have brothers who have already won stages at this year’s race: Valentin Paret-Paintre’s brother Aurélien, and Davide Bais’s brother Mattia 

Cavendish is having a long chat with Trek-Segafredo’s Otto Vergaerde. He looks much happier this time compared with his remonstration with the commissaire car earlier. 

Francois Bidard

The breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images)


Other teams keeping themselves right at the front include Jumbo-Visma, JaycoAlUla, UAE Team Emirates and Soudal-QuickStep.

Puncture for Pieter Serry. Evenepoel is down one rider for the time being.

Serry is back in the peloton, despite the fast pace in the peloton on the approach to the climb

The increase in pace has seen the gap come down to under five minutes for the first time in a while. That’s still a big lead though, and there’s enough quality in the group to ensure the likelihood of their survival.


Unsurprisingly, Barguil has moved to the front and is setting the pace on the climb. Already others are struggling, with Iacchi only just hanging on.

Barguil’s pace is quick, but it doesn’t look like he’s trying to explode the group. 

Now the peloton are on the climb, being lead by Soudal-QuickStep

Healy accelerates at the top of the climb, and he’s got a gap

Healy’s really going for it, and he reaches the top with several seconds over the rest.

Pavel Sivakov is increasing the pace in the peloton for Ineos Grenadiers. Are the British team looking to put Evenepoel and co under pressure, or just to better position themselves ahead of the descent?

A line of four Ineos riders lead the peloton. This is another display of strength by the team.

Sivakov leads the peloton over the top of the climb. The group is still big, without too many casualties.

Meanwhile out front, Healy is alone and committing to this long-range solo move. 

Healy’s gap over the rest of the break is around 40 seconds as he crosses the finish line for the first time. We know how strong he was during the Ardennes Classics, and long-range wins have been in vogue recently, but this is a long way out to fully commit.

A crash for Skujiņš on the run-in to the next climb. He's back on his bike but will need to chase hard to rejoin 

The peloton are now at the finish line. They remain about 4 minutes adrift from the breakaway group, but five minutes from Healy, who's on a mission

Remco Evenepoel

The peloton on the climb (Image credit: Getty Images)

A small problem in the peloton as Jay Vine almost goes down alongside the barrer with a few other riders. He's had to swap bikes


There’s tension in the chasing group as Zana remonstrates with Bais. They’ll need to get organised if they’re to bring Healy back, who looks very strong on this climb

Back in the peloton, Jumbo-Visma have taken over at the front. Does Primož Roglič have anything planned on this climb?

There’s no love lost between Zana and Bais. Zana is gesticulating towards him again.

There aren't many riders left with Zana and Bais in the chase group anymore: just Gee, Verona and Barguil. The rest have been dropped. 

This is a quick pace being set by Jumbo-Visma, and it’s thinning the peloton out. They’ve also just brought back Iacchi, who was dropped from the break on the first climb

Far from fatiguing, Healy looks great and his lead is getting bigger and bigger. It’s now over 1-30 over the chasers.

Healy reaches the top of the climb and his lead is 1-44. If he can descend well, he’ll take some stopping.

Michel Hessmann's long turn at the front for Jumbo-Visma comes to an end, and Ineos Grenadiers resume control. Many GC riders have been rid of several domestiques, but the group's still about 40-riders strong with all the GC favourites present. 

Ineos lead the peloton over the top of the climb. With a deficit of over 5 minutes to Healy, they won’t be contesting the stage today, but that work from Jumbo-Visma suggests there might still be some GC action on the final climb coming up next.


Ben Healy

Healy out in front alone (Image credit: Getty Images)

Ineos Grenadiers are continuing to set the pace in the peloton. There's no real urgency though, and some riders who were dropped on the climb are rejoining



Hessmann leads the peloton on Monte delle Cesane (Image credit: Getty Images)

Healy's done descending and is now on the unclassified climb. His lead’s holding steady at 1-40

Out of the saddle ad rocking side to side, it might look like Healy is struggling up this climb, but we’ve quickly grown accustomed to this racing style of his — he’s still flying along, as proven by the time gap, which has grown to 1-50

Having been distanced earlier, Carlos Verona is back in the five-man chase group and leading them on the unclassified climb. The pace is nowhere near enough to eat into Healy’s lead, however.

Jumbo-Visma are back pace-setting in the peloton, this time with Koen Bouwman on the unclassified climb.


There’s still at least 30 riders left in the peloton. It’s been a hard day, but not hard enough yet for any real selections. Andreas Leknessund looks as though he should defend his pink jersey, but things might yet explode on the Capuccini.


Primož Roglič was briefly in the cars out the back of the peloton, but whatever the reason, he looks very relaxed.


Zana, Barguil, Verona, Bais and Gee all remain together in the chase group two minutes behind.

Further back behind them, Riesebeek, Bidard, Tonelli and Skujiņs are still the best part of a minute adrift

A new sight at the front of the peloton as Bora-Hansgrohe lead onto the foot of the final climb. They have three riders ahead of team leader Aleksandr Vlasov.

Healy's lead is getting even bigger on the climb. It's now nearing 2-30. He could be set for not just a stage win, but one with a rare huge winning margin

The chase group are surely racing for second-place now, but that hasn’t stopped Zana from attacking. He’s got a small gap over the others

Vocal crowds out at the top of Capuccini, and they’re all cheering Healy on as he rides over the summit.

Bob Jungels leading the peloton on the climb with Bora teammates Kamna an Vlasov in toe

Attack by Roglic!

Roglic is going clear with Kamna and Leknessund

Evenepoel fourth on the road, a few seconds behind

Kamna's been dropped, leaving Roglic in the lead with Leknessund a few bikelengths behind, and Evenepoel a few more behind him

Evenepoel's caught up to Leknessund, but the pair is still a little behind Roglic

Evenepoel and Leknessund have been caught by a small group including Ineos' Thomas and Hart. He might have gone too deep trying to catch Roglic

Leknessund has also tired, and it's Hart and Thomas who are charging after him as the peak approaches

Hart and Thomas have latched onto Roglic's wheel, and the trio have a gap of several secods over Evenepoel, Almeida and Caruso. Leknessund is further back

Back at the front, Healy is already on the finishing straight...

Healy wins stage eight of the Giro d'Italia!

For a while the question hasn't been if he will win, but by how much. We'll find out in a few minutes

Back to the GC riders, and the race is really on. Roglic is pushing on on the descent, and has Thomas and Hart to help him from now until the finish. They all look set to gain some time

Gee wins the sprint for second ahead of Zana and Barguil, in what remains of the chase group

More riders joining the Evenepoel group, including Carthy

Caruso and Almeida dropped Evenepoel on the descent, and are a few seconds ahead

Roglic, Hart an Thomas are on the finishing straight. 

They cross the line, and the countdown is on...

Evenepoel arrives in a small group about 15 seconds behind

Now here comes the pink jersey in a four-man group a few seconds behind. That will  be enough to keep the jersey

Ben Healy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The time gaps weren’t huge between the GC riders, but we got a real insight as to who is climbing the best. The real surprise was seeing the formerly imperious Remco Evenepoel struggle to keep up not only on the climb, but also on the descent. He limited his losses to just a few seconds to Roglic, but the Slovenian and the other GC contenders will be encouraged by this rare show of weakness

There’s also been a rejig in the hierarchy between the favourites too. The Ineos duo of Hart and Thomas timed themselves on the final climb perfectly, not trying to follow Roglic initially, but charging back up to him as the summit approached. With both riders being the only contenders to not lose any time to Roglic on GC, they look very well positioned for an assault on the pink jersey

Evenepoel remains second on GC 8 seconds behind Leknessund, but Roglic has reduced his deficit to just 38 seconds in third, while behind Almeida in fourth (at 40 seconds) Thomas and Hart have moved up to fifth and sixth respectively.

Make sure to read our detailed report of the stage here

Primoz Roglic

Roglic attacks Evenepoel and Leknessund on Capuccini (Image credit: Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel

Evenepoel on the finishing straight (Image credit: Getty Images)

Ben Healy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Latest on Cyclingnews