Gatto and Contador surprise the sprinters

He's been threatening to strike on a Grand Tour scale for several years, and in Tropea this afternoon Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli) pounced on an opportunity that beckoned in the final two kilometers of a 217km journey to win stage eight of this year's Giro d'Italia.

The two men he beat for the top step of the podium - none other than Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), who finished the stage in second and third respectively.

It came at the end of a long - and ultimately successful - day for Italian ProConti squad Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, which wasn't invited to last year's Giro and demonstrated its worthy of its place in la corsa rosa with Gatto's victory and Leonardo Giordani's presence in the two-man breakaway.

After working for team leader Giovanni Visconti during the opening week of this year's edition of the Giro, the riders of Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli were able to play other cards in today's stage and it worked, as Gatto recognized after the finish; he thanked them and his directeur sportif Luca Scinto.

"I'm a sprinter, but I've always liked finishes like this, slightly uphill and technically difficult," said Gatto after the finish.

"I threw away the first two years of my career but I'm starting to make up time now. I just didn't understand how much work I had to do to be a professional. I have to thank Luca Scinto because he's helped me a lot. This stage win is for him."

It was a brave move from someone confident in their ability; maybe a sign of his increased maturity and probably the result of greater faith in his ability, Gatto was able to repay Scinto's belief with his stunning late attack.

"I looked around once but didn't see anyone. Then when I looked again, I saw it was a Saxo Bank and thought, 'I wonder if it's Contador,' said Gatto.

"I was slightly worried because I knew I didn't have much left for an eventual sprint. But when I checked one last time near the line, I knew I'd got it and began celebrating."

"I felt good on the [final] climb and it was good having a teammate in the break for the day," he said. "A victory in the Giro is great but to finish in front of Alberto Contador makes it even better."

Contador's late jump from the pack to take second on the stage moved him into fifth on the general classification, 13 seconds behind overall leader Pieter Weening (Rabobank), with one of his biggest rivals, Michele Scarponi, a second behind in sixth. The top four places remain unchanged from yesterday.

"Today for me and the team it was simple, only the finish was going to be hard," said Weening. "There were a lot of climbers [in the front group] and I had to be in the front because there could have been a lot of time gaps.

"I still have good legs so we'll wait for the last climb up Etna and see what happens."

Raining on the fast men's parade

Gatto spoiled the party that was supposed to be that of the sprinters in Tropea with his attack late in the stage to hold on and take victory, and many were tipping Mark Cavendish to take line honors in the coastal city. Before the start he Tweeted that he had seen the finish and knew positioning would be important.

It wasn't to be however, as the HTC-Highroad sprinter was nowhere to be seen in the finale despite some solid work from his teammates in the last 40km; conversely, Petacchi proved that he's the best fast man at this year's race with his third place.

With a long and relatively flat parcours, today was chance for many of the big overall contenders to recuperate from a fast stage yesterday - acknowledged as such by the likes of Carlos Sastre and Contador - and save energy for tomorrow journey to Mt Etna, which has loomed large in the consciousness of the general classification hitters and promises to make for spectacular racing.

After just two kilometers, Giordani and Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM) attacked, destined to spend the day toiling in isolation off the front of the bunch. Their endeavours netted them a maximum advantage of 10:50, which seemed a little generous, but it had been slashed to four minutes as the peloton passed under the banner indicating 35km remaining.

With 20km left to ride and the finish in Tropea beckoning, the break still held onto an advantage hovering around 2:30, an impressive feat given the length of the stage and the brevity of their stay within the bunch this morning. Given the fact that HTC-Highroad and Lampre-ISD were doing plenty of work to bring the plucky escapees back to the fold, the gap came tumbling down after this point.

And having spent all but 9.5km off the front of the bunch, Giordani and Selvaggi ended their adventure with a handshake and an embrace, sitting up with 7.5km remaining as the peloton pushed hard to sweep past the Italian duo.

The small climb that provided a finishing flourish to the day's long journey was a cue for Gatto to shoot from the pack solo and head for home, which he did, ensuring the efforts of Contador were only good enough for second place and the 26-year-old from Montebelluna could celebrate the biggest win of his career.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli4:59:45
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 1 - Cell 2
3Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:00:05
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 4 - Cell 2
6Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 5 - Cell 2
7Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 7 - Cell 2
9Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 8 - Cell 2
10Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 9 - Cell 2
11Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 10 - Cell 2
12Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 11 - Cell 2
13Russell Downing (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShackRow 13 - Cell 2
15Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 14 - Cell 2
16Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 15 - Cell 2
17Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 18 - Cell 2
20Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 19 - Cell 2
21Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShackRow 20 - Cell 2
22Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team AstanaRow 21 - Cell 2
23David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 24 - Cell 2
26Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 27 - Cell 2
29Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team AstanaRow 29 - Cell 2
31Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 30 - Cell 2
32Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 32 - Cell 2
34Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 33 - Cell 2
35Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-HighroadRow 34 - Cell 2
36Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 36 - Cell 2
38Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-HighroadRow 37 - Cell 2
39Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 41 - Cell 2
43Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShackRow 42 - Cell 2
44Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 44 - Cell 2
46Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-HighroadRow 45 - Cell 2
47Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 47 - Cell 2
49Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky ProcyclingRow 48 - Cell 2
50Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 49 - Cell 2
51Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team AstanaRow 50 - Cell 2
52Marcel Wyss (Swi) Geox-TMCRow 51 - Cell 2
53Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 52 - Cell 2
54Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni GiocattoliRow 53 - Cell 2
55Andrea Noe (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 54 - Cell 2
56Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 56 - Cell 2
58Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:00:15
59Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:20
61Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:22
62Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 61 - Cell 2
63José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli0:00:23
64Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:00:26
65Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 64 - Cell 2
66Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team AstanaRow 66 - Cell 2
68Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 68 - Cell 2
70Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 69 - Cell 2
71Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 71 - Cell 2
73Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Pro Team AstanaRow 73 - Cell 2
75Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 74 - Cell 2
76Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 75 - Cell 2
77Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 76 - Cell 2
78Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 77 - Cell 2
79Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 78 - Cell 2
80Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Pro Team AstanaRow 79 - Cell 2
81Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISDRow 80 - Cell 2
82Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Michael Barry (Can) Sky ProcyclingRow 82 - Cell 2
84Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISDRow 83 - Cell 2
85Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShackRow 84 - Cell 2
86Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:33
87Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack0:00:38
88Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 87 - Cell 2
89Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 88 - Cell 2
90Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 89 - Cell 2
91Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShackRow 91 - Cell 2
93Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:40
94Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:50
95Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShack0:01:01
96Juan José Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 95 - Cell 2
97Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
98Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:06
99Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:01:08
100Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 100 - Cell 2
102Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team0:01:11
103Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 102 - Cell 2
104Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 103 - Cell 2
105Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 105 - Cell 2
107Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:01:17
108Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 107 - Cell 2
109Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 108 - Cell 2
110Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:20
111Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:22
112Adam Blythe (GBr) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 111 - Cell 2
113Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShackRow 112 - Cell 2
114Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
116Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 115 - Cell 2
117Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
118David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 117 - Cell 2
119Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 118 - Cell 2
120Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Acqua & SaponeRow 119 - Cell 2
121Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Geox-TMC0:01:24
123Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 122 - Cell 2
124Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMCRow 123 - Cell 2
125Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Maxim Belkov (Rus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
127Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 126 - Cell 2
128Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 127 - Cell 2
129Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 128 - Cell 2
130Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 129 - Cell 2
131Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky ProcyclingRow 130 - Cell 2
132Morris Possoni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 131 - Cell 2
133Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 132 - Cell 2
134Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & SaponeRow 133 - Cell 2
135Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 134 - Cell 2
136Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank SungardRow 135 - Cell 2
137Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky ProcyclingRow 136 - Cell 2
138Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 137 - Cell 2
139Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Pro Team AstanaRow 138 - Cell 2
140Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 139 - Cell 2
141Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 140 - Cell 2
142Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & SaponeRow 141 - Cell 2
143Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 142 - Cell 2
144Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad0:01:40
145Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:43
146Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 145 - Cell 2
147Chris Butler (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 146 - Cell 2
148Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 147 - Cell 2
149Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 148 - Cell 2
150Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 149 - Cell 2
151Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 150 - Cell 2
152Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
153Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 152 - Cell 2
154Juan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 153 - Cell 2
155Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 154 - Cell 2
156Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team0:01:47
157Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank SungardRow 156 - Cell 2
158Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:01:50
159Frantisek Rabon (Cze) HTC-HighroadRow 158 - Cell 2
160Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad0:01:51
161Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 160 - Cell 2
162Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 161 - Cell 2
163Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 162 - Cell 2
164Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 163 - Cell 2
165Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 164 - Cell 2
166Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 165 - Cell 2
167Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 166 - Cell 2
168Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 167 - Cell 2
169Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard0:02:18
170Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank SungardRow 169 - Cell 2
171Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 170 - Cell 2
172Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 171 - Cell 2
173Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShackRow 172 - Cell 2
174Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 173 - Cell 2
175Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 174 - Cell 2
176Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 175 - Cell 2
177Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 176 - Cell 2
178Claudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 177 - Cell 2
179Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:02:25
180Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 179 - Cell 2
181Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:02:57
182Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 181 - Cell 2
183Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:03:11
184Michael Mørkøv (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 183 - Cell 2
185Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:03:17
186Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:00:05
187Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:04:38
188Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 187 - Cell 2
189David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:04:45
190Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 189 - Cell 2
191Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 190 - Cell 2
192Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:07:14
193Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:08:08
DNFFabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Geox-TMCRow 193 - Cell 2