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Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 8

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia, a 54.8 kilometre time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara.

Eschewing convention, the Giro has placed the first big GC sort-out, a hefty 54.8km TT, squarely on the second Saturday. Unorthodox it may be but the crono is deserving of such prestige. Grand Tours are about finding the most complete cyclist and winners should be able to excel against the watch. So, controversial or otherwise, this is a breath of fresh air. On paper, the route looks straightforward, but in reality only about 20 kilometres are flat. Beyond that it’s bumpy and technical, with a stiff ramp up to the finish.

It's a huge day for the GC contenders. Here's where we stand in terms of the overnight leaderboard:

1 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 28:30:04
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:08
4 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha 0:00:10
5 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:00:13
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:16
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:00:19
8 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:28
9 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:29
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:34

Bradley Wiggins sits in 23rd position after losing time as a result of a crash yesterday. he was also dropped on the last climb too, so today is colossal as he looked to overturn a 1'32 deficit on the maglia rosa. If he comes out of today's stage behind Nibali and Hesjedal in GC his chances of winning this year's Giro will have been dealt a huge blow.

As a rough guide one could look to the long time trial in last year's Tour de France to Chartres in which Wiggins put 3:38 into Nibali.

 

However they were different circumstances: Nibali was racing for third, Wiggins was in the form of his life and the race was almost done and dusted. Today's a stark contrast, Wiggins is certainly still a favourite to win the Giro but he's going to have to do it the hardway, and come from behind.

Here's where we stand in relation to some of the early starters in today's TT.

Intermediate time check, 26 km.

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 36.20
2.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack-Leopard) + 1.18
3.Maxim Belkov (Katusha) + 1.22
4.Taylor Phinney (BMC) + 2.12
5.Dario Cataldo (Sky) + 2.25

As luck would have it, we have a video recorded with Alex Dowsett about his TT preparation and his Giro d'Italia so far. To watch the video, simply click here.

That's a bit of a surprise to see Taylor Phinney down by so much after 26km of racing. The American is clearly not over the illness he picked up a few days ago.

For an assessment of the Giro so far, check out Robert Millar's latest blog for Cyclingnews, right here.

Christian Meier from Orica GreenEdge has just started his TT effort. Ellia Viviani and Kessiakoff will be heading out in the next few minutes. Riders are setting out at one minute intervals at the moment but that changes later this afternoon when the gaps start at 3 minutes.

Durbridge has come through in 2nd place, +37s. I'm off for lunch now, most of you will be thankful, a handful disappointed.

@daniellloyd1 Sat, 11th May 2013 12:31:26

By the way, you can find all our Giro d'Italia videos right on one page. We'll be adding more each day.

Finish

1.Maxim Belkov (Katusha) 1:27:57
2.Laurent Pichon (FdJ) + 5:14
3.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) + 5.37
4.Jack Bobridge (Blanco) + 6:25
5.Rafael Andirato (Vini Fantini) + 9.23
6.Mattia Gavazzi (Androni) +11.37

Intermediate time check, 26 km.

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 36.20
2.Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) + 0.37
3.Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) + 0.49
4.Tobias Ludvigson (Argos-Shimano) + 1.16
5.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack-Leopard) + 1.18

Belkov has a huge lead of over five minutes at this stage.

There's quite a bit of talk about Nibali moving into pink at the end of the stage. He's five seconds of the maglia rosa and 1'27 ahead of Wiggins. Hesjedal is also in the mix too and Intxausti can't be ruled out either. Nibali in pink though? That would be a huge boost for the Astana leader's chances. He's certainly improved against the clock over the winter but to only lose around 1 second per km to Wiggins would be a huge ask. The course suits Nibali though: it's technical and there's a decent amount of climbing involved. He also starts after Wiggins, which should also be an advantage.

Standing talking to Dave Brailsford and Tim Kerrison at the start of TT, rain seems an hour away which is when Bradley Wiggins starts.

@DavidWalshST Sat, 11th May 2013 12:54:37

Alex Dowsett is about to reach the final climb towards the finish. The time looks good.. can he take the lead?

Bobridge:

I just wanted to finish but that last climb was tough… I don’t know why it had to finish up there. It will make it an interesting time trial for the GC guys anyway.

 

Julilen Berard AGR did not start

Danilo Hondo has started his time trial.

And Dowsett moves into the lead:

 

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 1.16.27
2.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack) + 2.00
3.Dario Cataldo (Sky) + 3.24
4.Maxim Belkov (Katusha) + 5.05
5.Stephen Cummings (BMC) + 5.41
6.Iljo Keisse (OPQS) + 6.05
7.Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge) + 6.56
8.Brian Bulgac (Lotto Belisol) + 7:00
9.Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel) + 7.18
10.Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) + 5.20

It's started to rain at the finish too.

Luke Durbridge has come to the line, 35 seconds down on Dowsett. Not a bad result for the Australian but the British time trial champion remains in charge. The big question is how long will the rain last and will it spread to the rest of the course.

Wiggins goes off well before his GC contenders. Could his luck in this year's race be about to change?

Blanco's Sted Clement is second at the finish 32 seconds down on Dowsett.

Kessiakoff, who won a TT at the Vuelta last year, is on the course and should be at the finish in the next 15 minutes. Cavendish has just finished in 50th place, well down today. He's given it his all though, and is clearly struggling over the line.

Peter Stetina is about to start.

Cobo is coming to the line. He's had a terrible race so far with crashes but his time isn't a complete disaster today. He crosses the line in 7th. 1'19;'07.

The rain has eased off at the finish as Kroon approaches the fine. He has to nip around a Bardiani rider who loses it on a corner though.

Kessiakoff is around 5-8 minutes away from the line. His time against Dowsett's will give a indication for the GC riders.

Garate has missed his start time. He has to run onto the start ramp and he starts straight away.

Kessiakoff is losing time on the final climb. He's picking off a few riders as he does so but this isn't going to challenge Dowsett's lead.

The Astana rider is over two minutes down on Dowsett's time.

Pozzovivo starts his time trial. He'll want to limit his loses. If he can come away with only conceding three, three and a half minutes, he'll be content with that.

Heano starts his time trial as well. Sky will want him to save his energies for the days ahead in the mountains.

The roads are dry for the Tour de France champion as he settles into his race. Quickly down into position the Brit is around the opening corners without too much trouble.

The start is a gradual uphill with a few technical corners but Wiggins looks comfortable at the moment. Back  at the start house Bentancur has just started but all eyes are on Wiggins.

The Sky leader is on the small ring as he climbs over the opening sections.

Wiggins now heading down a short descent before the road begins to level off and then climb once again.

Finish times as we stand:

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 1.16.27
2.Stef Clement (Blanco) + 0.32
3.Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) + 0.35
4.Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) + 0.45
5.Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) + 1.48
6.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack) + 2.00
7.Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) + 2.38
8.Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar) + 2.40
9.Julien Vermote (OPQS) + 2.59
10.Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco) + 3.09

Former maglia rosa Luca Paolini gets his time trial under way.

Wiggins goes passed Di Luca, a former winner of the race, as if the Italian is standing still.

That will have dented Di Luca's pride and he immediately tries to respond as he accelerates out of the saddle. Wiggins just ploughs on ahead and is well clear.

And Wiggins swaps bikes.

He pointed to his back wheel and called for the team car, then chucked it aside before picking it back up again.

It was a fairly quick change for Wiggins and he's up and running again.

Samuel Sanchez starts his time trial effort.

Wiggins reaches for a gel and looks to have quickly regained his focus.

News: Bobridge takes rough with smooth at Giro d'Italia: Australian working for Gesink in corsa rosa     http://t.co/AZN5KrRhMH

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 11th May 2013 14:32:43

RT @dnlbenson: Robert Millar Blog: Sky Look Vulnerable As Wiggins Loses Time | http://t.co/Nn6lkR4xSE http://t.co/voo22URsxn

@halifaxuk Sat, 11th May 2013 14:17:42

Wiggins catches Kelderman. He's already dispatched with Henao and Di Luca.

Robert Gesink who sits 7th on GC starts his time trial. He's looked in good form so far, and came through the wet conditions well yesterday.

Wiggins, meanwhile, is coming up to the first intermediate time check and it looks like he'll take the lead.

Cadel Evans is on the road now too.

Does Cadel still have the legs for grand tour racing? We'll find out today.

Wiggins in 7th at the first time check at 37.12.

Well that's a turn up for the books. Different race, different year, but he was first at the time check in the long TT in last year's Tour. Wiggins had that bike change earlier on of course.

It looks like Cadel Evans has started quickly. He takes risks around the opening few corners and then accelerates up the first climb.

Finish

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 1.16.27
2.Stef Clement (Blanco) + 0.32
3.Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) + 0.35
4.Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) + 0.45
5.Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) + 1.48
6.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack) + 2.00
7.Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack) + 2.17
8.Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) + 2.38
9.Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar) + 2.40
10.Julien Vermote (OPQS) + 2.59

Intermediate time check, 26 km.

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 36.20
2.Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) + 0.37
3.Tanel Kangert (Astana) + 0.42
4.Stef Clement (Blanco) + 0.44
5.Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) + 0.49
6.Bradley Wiggins (Sky) + 0.52

Here we are, the day the Giro gets decided. Not necessarily who will win, but today decides who won't win.

@Vaughters Sat, 11th May 2013 14:47:59

Worrying times for Wiggins and Sky. Being down at the first time check isn't a disaster but 52 seconds? That's a lot, especially at this stage.

RT @DavidWalshST: My prediction is Wiggins will win this time trial.

@MKerruish Sat, 11th May 2013 14:24:02

Wiggins' style on the bike hasn't changed, he still looks smooth, as he sits in the saddle and takes on the latest short incline on the course.

Ryder Hesjedal is on the start ramp and begins his time trial.

The Canadian could be in the maglia rosa by the end of today.

Henao and Uran are both faster than Wiggins at the first time check at 26km.

Nibali knows all of this and he's about to start the time trial.

RT @dnlbenson: Dowsett moves into the lead in the Giro TT. Here's a video of him talking about his TT prep: http://t.co/Wa1Lwk3Por

@_L__A__U__R__A_ Sat, 11th May 2013 14:35:31

Wiggo coming thru 52 seconds down. Hate to say it, but it ain't happening this year. Cadel, Inxtausti, and Ryder will all go much faster.

@Vaughters Sat, 11th May 2013 14:51:34

Hesjedal is a great bike handler but he just looks like he's about to overcook every corner. Maybe it's because of his size and his position, but he's motoring along in the early kms.

And Intxausti is on the road. Is he the next David Arroyo?

Scarponi is faster than Wiggins at the first time check.

Scarponi was third at the first time check. If you predicted that at the start of the stage you're a liar. Still a long way to go for the Italian and 2011 winner of this race.

All the GC contenders are out on the road, with Alex Dowsett sitting nervously at the finish. Mark Cavendish came in to give him a pat on the back a few minutes ago but the Movistar rider is clearly anxious. This would easily be the biggest win of his life, but there's still a long way to go.

But here comes Tangert could he lead?

It looks like the Astana rider will come up with the goods to take the lead.

He's slowing up, and Dowsett holds onto his lead. Kangert has to settle for second.

No win for Wiggins, that for sure. He's 4th just at the foot of the climb to the line.

Dowsett is in the start house, his sister and teammate Visconti with him.

Evans is second at the first time check.

Henao is about to hit the line and looks like a decent time for the Sky man. He's 6th in  1'17'20.

Evans was 22 seconds down on Dowsett at the first time check.

Wiggins is closing in and he's bounced back in the second half to finish in second. He was fourth at the bottom of the hill but closed to 10 seconds behind Dowsett by the finishing line.

So no stage win for Wiggins but he's thrown down the gauntlet. He was 52 seconds down at the first time check but closed by the finish. Still, all the other GC riders are yet to finish.

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 1.16.27
2.Bradley Wiggins (Sky) +0.10
3.Tanel Kangert (Astana) + 0.14
4.Stef Clement (Blanco) + 0.32
5.Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) + 0.35
6.Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) + 0.45
7.Sergio Henao (Sky) + 0.53
8.Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) + 1.48
9.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack) + 2.00
10.Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack) + 2.17

Wiggins 1-16-37. improved in second half but not enough.

@willfoth Sat, 11th May 2013 15:26:47

Hesjedal is 9th fastest at the first time check, so he's faster than Wiggins at the early stages, by 9 seconds.

Have a good feeling about @CadelOfficial today...

@taylorphinney Sat, 11th May 2013 15:27:25

Nibali is fastest by 8 seconds at the first time check. Up the road, Scarponi seems to have lost some ground though.

Nibali has been working on his TT position throughout the winter, and it immediately had positive effects at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, where he beat Contador in a TT test. Still, up by 8 seconds is an incredible ride from the Italian.

Down the road Hesjedal looks to be struggling on one of the climbs as Nibali is one minute faster than Wiggins at the first time check.

Scarponi is closing to the line and this looks like a very respectable ride from the Italian. 1'17'20 and into 8th.

Tour of California 2013: Top 10 riders to watch http://t.co/DsaUCnvU6P via @cyclingnewsfeed

@OrCyclingAction Sat, 11th May 2013 15:39:40

Intxausti was 1.05 back at first time check, making him 15th at the moment. Nibali is riding towards the maglia rosa for now.

Nibali rises out of the saddle, while up the road Cadel Evans pushes himself along on a flatter section.

Hesjedal has lost 51 seconds to Nibali out on the road.

Cadel Evans has just 5km to go in his time trial.

Evans is currently 8th but is about to start the climb to the finish.

We've seen a number of riders come unstuck on this final climb but Evans still looks strong. He looks set to lose time to Wiggins but not as much as was expected at the start of today.

Gesink is 9th. 1'12 down on Wiggins. He'll be happy with that.

Evans is racing up the final section of the climb.

Evans pushes to the top of the hill in 1'17'06 and is 6th. Very solid indeed.

So in theory only Nibali can take the stage from Dowsett but the maglia rosa certainly looks like it's heading towards the Italian.

Not long now. This wait is agonising! Thank you so much for all the kind messages.

@alexdowsett Sat, 11th May 2013 16:00:44

Hesjedal has slowed quite a bit. He's about to tackle the final climb and may not finish in the top ten today.

1.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) 1.16.27
2.Bradley Wiggins (Sky) + 0.10
3.Tanel Kangert (Astana) + 0.14
4.Stef Clement (Blanco) + 0.32
5.Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) + 0.35
6.Cadel Evans (BMC) + 0.39
7.Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) + 0.45
8.Sergio Henao (Sky) + 0.53
9.Michele Scarponi (Lampre) + 0.53
10.Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) + 1.48

Nibali looks to have slowed. Dowsett manages to give the cameras a little wave but it's certainly not over yet. The former Sky rider moved to Movistar because he felt that the British team weren't giving him enough chances in the races.

Hesjedal is in second but still has 600 meters to go.

Hesjedal is near the finish but he's lost a chunk of time. He's home 1'18'50, 17th for the stage, 2'23 down on Dowsett.

And Nibali is closing. He wont win the stage but he will pull on pink.

Dowsett will win the stage, 1'16'48 for Nibali and fourth. He loses just 11 seconds to Bradley Wiggins. That's a huge result for the Italian and the Astana team.

Intxausti is yet to finish. The Spaniard had put in a strong performance today and he should hold onto a top ten in GC.

Here's a video we made with Dowsett about his TT prep.

Here are the results for the top ten:

1 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team 1:16:27
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:10
3 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:14
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:21
5 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32
6 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:35
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39
8 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:45
9 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:53
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida

Here's where he stand on GC:


1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 29:46:57
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:29
3 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:01:15
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:16
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:01:24
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp 0:02:05
7 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:11
8 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:02:43
9 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:02:44
10 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:49

Wiggins may have finished second today but he'll be disappointed not to have put more time into his rivals. Nibali with the stand out performance but also strong rides from Evans, Scarponi and Gesink. Hesjedal will be frustrated. He's two minutes down on Nibali, which although isn't a disaster, will be hard to claw back.

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

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