Welcome to the Cyclingnews coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 8 from Foligno to Montecopiolo. This will be the first test for the general classification riders
There was no transfer for the riders yesterday. After finishing in Foligno yesterday, they start here again today. To the delight of everyone, the sun is shining down.
Racing will begin in around 25 minutes, as the riders begin the 179 kilometre stage.
Today sees the first category one climbs of the race, with the Cippo di Carpegna and Montecopiolo. If you want to see what's in store for the riders today yourself, check out our preview here
You can also get our preview in video format here and don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Caravan director at the Giro d'Italia, Andrea Leoni has posted this picture from the start. The festivities are in full swing as the riders start to line up.
Michael Matthews starts today as the race leader. However, with the summit finish on Montecopiolo the Australian is likely to hand it over. Here is a look at the top 10 as it stands right now:
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 29:34:19
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:18
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:25
5 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
6 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo
7 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge 0:01:47
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:51
9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:01:52
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale 0:02:06
Italian national champion Ivan Santaromita joined the Orica-GreenEdge team this year and he has been instrumental in helping Matthews defend his pink jersey. Cyclingnews caught up with him and talked about wearing the tricolore in his home grand tour and helping Matthews keep the maglia rosa. You can watch the video here. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel right there too.
There is some bad news for GreenEdge this morning, however. Cameron Meyer won't be starting today. He said this on twitter this morning:
"Unfortunately the sickness got the better of me. Huge thanks to my @ORICA_GreenEDGE teammates and staff for amazing Giro week. Legends and they still have two weeks of winning to go. Good luck guys."
And the riders have rolled out for the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia.
Here is Nairo Quintana signing on this morning. Will he try something on the finish today or will he wait for the bigger mountains?
A quick reminder of who is wearing what today. Michael Matthews is currently the leader of three competitions. He is wearing the pink jersey of race leader, but he he is also the leader of the young rider's and mountains classifications. Keeping the young rider's jersey safe for him is Rafal Majka. Maarten Tjallingii continues to wear the blue jersey, sitting second in the classification. After his victory yesterday, Nacer Bouhanni is in the red points jersey today.
Today is one of three stages dedicated to the late Marco Pantani. Il Pirata used to use the Cippo di Carpegna - today's first climb - for training. His link to the short and puncy ascent is marked by a cutout of him on the righthand side of the climb.
The road up the Cippo di Carpegna is narrow and with little in the way of climbing beforehand, we're likely to see the peloton arrive together. Positioning will be key for the GC contenders, as they could lose time if they're not near the front when they hit the bottom of the Carpegna.
There is more to the Carpegna than Marco Pantani's training ground. In 1974 José Manuel Fuente attacked Eddy Merckx on the climb, dropping the Cannibal in the process. Fuente want on to beat Merckx by more than a minute on the stage. The Belgian would get the last laugh though, as Fuentes bonked on stage 14 to San Remo and Merckx would go on to win the general classification. Fuente did, however, the mountains classification.
171km remaining from 179km
The riders have completed eight kilometres. There have been a number of escape attempt, but nothing has stuck thus far and we are still gruppo compatto.
Nairo Quintana hasn't had the best of starts to the Giro d'Italia. Movistar had a nightmare in the team time trial, as discipline they usually excel in, and lost yet more time on stage 6 after the huge crash near the finish. Quintana is still within touching distance of the maglia rosa and there was some fighitng talk from the Movistar camp when Cyclingnews spoke to them yesterday. You can read the full article by Alasdair Fotheringham right here.
A reminder that Cameron Meyer is a DNS today. There were two DNFs yesterday. Europcar's Maxime Mederel and Neri Sottoli's Ramon Carretero quit during the stage.
163km remaining from 179km
Sky are at the front of the peloton at the moment, which is all together. No breakaway has been formed yet.
Michael Matthews is probably in his last in the pink jersey. He's had it since the second day, when he took it from his teammate Svein Tuft. The team has ensured that he's been riding around in style, giving his Scott Foil a little bit of a pink make-over. Cyclingnews had a look at Matthews' steed for this year's race. You can see it here. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel right here.
As expected today, Movistar have been very active. They're looking to get someone into the escape today, but nothing has stuck yet.
Cadell Evans is the most likely contender to take the pink jersey from his compatriot. He's currently 21 seconds behind Matthews. Earlier this week, BMC said that they were happy not to have the burden of the pink jersey. It will be interesting to see how they handle things if they do take it today. Will they risk trying to pass it off to someone else or will Evans try to keep it for the remaining two weeks?
We have an escape group formed, they have 30 seconds ont he peloton at the moment.
The men in the break are Julian Arredondo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli), Julien Bérard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani CSF), Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Carlos Quintero (Colombia) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha).
144km remaining from 179km
The escapees now have a gap of 3 minutes over the peloton.
It is Edvald Boasson Hagen's birthday today. He turns 27. There is another birthday back in the peloton, Sonny Colbrelli turns 24.
139km remaining from 179km
The advantage continues to increase for the breakaway. They now have a gap of 8:30
Adam Hansen is currently trying to bridge the gap to the leaders. He's around 1:30 ahead of the peloton.
Of the 10 men out front Mauro Finetto is the best placed in the GC. He's only 3:28 down on the maglia rosa, so it the virtual race leader at the moment.
133km remaining from 179km
BMC are currently on the front. It looks like GreenEdge are content to let them take up that job.
In the break today is last year's mountains classification winner Stefano Pirazzi. He's on the search for points in that competition again.
Julian Arredondo, who is also in the break today, was a dark horse for the general classification. However, the Trek Factory Racing rider lost over 18 minutes on stage 6, after he was caught up in the crash near the finish. The young Colombian has been very impressive this year, if the break succeed he could do well on Montecopiolo.
127km remaining from 179km
The pace has picked up in the peloton and the gap to the escapees has fallen a little bit. It is now at 8 minutes.
BMC's Danilo Wyss still leads the peloton. He is followed by Movistar's Fran Ventoso, who crashed near the finish yesterday. He's well covered with banadges today.
124km remaining from 179km
Adam Hansen has been caught by the peloton. There are now just two groups on the road.
Axel Domont of AG2R La Mondiale looks like he's been on the tarmac. He's got a black scuff on his cheek and a hole in his shorts.
A reminder what the riders have in store for them today. Here is the stage 8 profile:
Nathan Haas was in yesterday's escape, despite suffering two crashes on the first two stages of the race. He spoke to us yesterday, and you can watch that here. You can find all of our Giro d'Italia videos here and don't forget to subscribe.
112km remaining from 179km
The leaders exit the Umbria region. It's a relatively easy first half of the day for the peloton. The first climb of the day is the Cippo di Carpegna, which comes at 35.6km to go.
Movistar have now taken to the front, with BMC moving back
Ivan Basso has had a fairly annonymous Giro d'Italia so far, but he sits in 10th place at the moment. He told Cyclingnews that he expects the tough first week to take it's toll on the riders. You can read the full article here.
Reports coming through that Tinkoff-Saxo rider Christopher Juul-Jensen had a fever of 39 last night. He is riding today, however, but has told Danish TV that he feels like he's had 10 beers.
The points classification is the only competition not lead by Michael Matthews at the moment. The man in control of the red jersey is Nacer Bouhanni. He took his first two grand tour victories in the first week of the Giro d'Italia and he is looking for more once the race is out of the mountains. Read what he had to say after yesterday's tage here.
100km remaining from 179km
The peloton seems happy at this pace. They've been holding the gap at 8:10 for quite some time now.
One of the big stories yesterday was the departure of Joaquim Rodríguez. He added a third broken rib to his collection when he went down hard on Thursday, and broke his finger too. His team have hinted that we could see him challenging for yellow at the Tour de France this year.
"The Vuelta a España was and is the next big goal for Joaquim Rodriguez. However, in the light of the recent situation, his participation in the Tour de France cannot be excluded. Anyway, everything will depend on the recovery process of “Purito” and his general race preparation progress," said directeur sportif Viacheslav Ekimov.
94km remaining from 179km
The gap has dropped a little bit to the 10 men out front. It's now 7:07. Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Tinkoff-Saxo lead the chase.
87km remaining from 179km
The gap goes out to 7:30, as the escapees near the feed zone.
We mentioned earlier the monument to Marco Pantani on the Cippo di Carpegna, here is that cutout of him.
A reminder of the 10 men in the break today: Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli), Julien Bérard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani CSF), Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Carlos Quintero (Colombia) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha)
The escapees have just completed 100 kilometres, there are 26km to the foot of the Cippo di Carpegna where we expect the fireworks to begin today. The gap currently stands at 7:00.
Iljo Keisse is on the front of the peloton. He would have been part of Mark Cavendish's leadout train if the Manxman hadn't changed his mind and race at the Tour of California. Keisse is best known as a six-day rider, but today he is using his power to drive ont he pace of the peloton.
76km remaining from 179km
The intermediate sprint is coming up in 3 kilometre's time. Edvald Boasson Hagen will be the favourite to take the points, if they chose to contest the sprint.
Unsurprisingly, Edvald Boasson Hagen takes the points in the sprint.
72km remaining from 179km
Francesco Chicchi can be seen climbing over the barrier. He's back on his bike, but he's obviously gone over the barrier at speed and he looks like he's in quite a bit of pain.
Nairo Quintana is on the radio at the back of the peloton. has he been involved in that incident somehow?
We're nearing the first categorised climb of the day, want to see what's in store for the peloton? Watch our stage preview right here. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel too.
Replay shows Chicchi's incident and we are none the wiser as to how it actually happened. The Italian was on his own and his bike veered into the barrier, sending him head first into the grass.
Ventoso is back on the front again and he's cutting chucnks out of the escapees' advantage. It's down to 6:16 now.
Rigoberto Uran is another strong contender for today. He's one of the few GC riders to come through the first week relatively unscathed. Read what his directeur sportif had to say to Cyclingnews yesterday, here.
61km remaining from 179km
Iljo Keisse hasn't had enough and he's back on the front. The gap has now dropped to under 6 minutes.
Steven Kruijswijk is on the back of the peloton. He was one of the many riders to come down on stage 6, suffering a small fracture in his shoulder. The Dutch rider finished 8th at the Giro d'Italia in 2011.
We are approaching the first climb of the day, the Cippo di Carpegna. It's probably too far to make a successful attack, but it will make the selection before the final climb. Here is a look at the profile:
There is more to the climb than that profile suggests, they have around seven kilometres of climbing before the official start of the climb.
51km remaining from 179km
The pace is going up and the favourites are beginning to come to the front. You need to be up front when you get to the Carpegna or you could lose out. The gap to the escapees is falling quickly, it's now under five minutes at 4:37
Sky, Orica-GreenEdge, Astana and Movistar are all at the front now. There is going to be a huge battle for position soon
50km remaining from 179km
Pirazzi has accelerated on the front of the breakaway group and they are strung out along the road.
Marco Bandiera becomes the first to crack and has been dropped from the escape group. He was in the break two days ago too.
The peloton is really motoring now and have taken another minute out of the break. It is now 3:54
The climbing has begun and the maglia rosa Michael Matthews has been dropped from the peltoon, along with Nacer Bouhanni.
Pirazzi drives on and takes Quemeneur and Arredondo with him. It is now three out front.
45km remaining from 179km
Movistar are now out in force on the front of the peloton. The team have obviously been saving their energy for this moment.
Niemiec has to take a wheel from his teammate on a very steep part of the climb. Bad timing for that mechanical problam.
43km remaining from 179km
Matthews is on his own and he has litterally waved goodbye to his pink jersey. It's going to be a long road home from here.
All of the favourites are still in the main peloton. Nairo Quintana looking fairly comfortable as he switches into the small ring. Too early to attack now, but who will be the first to show their cards?
40km remaining from 179km
The leaders are on the Cippo di Carpegna proper and the road just kicks up as they go onto the narrow road.
While there are some riders dropping out of the peloton there are still plenty in the main group. Positioning is vital, which is why all of the big teams have moved to the front. Movisatr's Eros Capecchi is dragging them along at a fast pace.
The peloton now hit the Carpegna, expect a lot of riders to lose out here.
Priazzi continues to lead the escapees, he wants the points at the top of this climb. Quemeneur is beginning to struggle as the gap falls below three minutes.
Only two Movistar riders remain at the front of the peloton, as Quintana moves across and drops into the middle of the group. BMC is still up there too.
Quemeneur makes it back to the front two and they ride together again. Boasson Hagen and Quintero are chasing alone, the rest have been dropped.
38km remaining from 179km
Pozzovivio is the second man in what is left of the peltoton. Vuillermoz is the rider on the front and this group is getting ever smaller.
There is still around 3 kilometres to the top of this climb and the gap has already come down to below 2 minutes. few teams have more than 2 riders remaining in this 'peloton'
Quemeneur has a go at the camera bike, telling him to move up the road to give them some more space.
37km remaining from 179km
Pirazzi attacks and Arredondo stays in his wheel
Excellent ride from Edvald Boasson Hagen on this climb. He has Quintero sat in his wheel and is closing the gap to the three leaders.
Arredondo attacks and drops both his companions.
Arredondo is now on his own with 2km to the top of the climb.
36km remaining from 179km
Vuillermoz is still working on the front with Pozzovivo right behind him. It's an odd style he's got, but it seems to be working. The gap is now just 1 minute.
A big name missing from the main group on the road is Michele Scarponi. Astana are currently represented by Fabio Aru in that group.
Pirazzi attacks Quemeneur. He's not going to catch Arredondo, but he want's second.
35km remaining from 179km
Huge crowds at the top of the Carpegna as Arredondo takes the points for the king of the mountain's competition.
Pirazzi follows him across, some 36 seconds down. Arredondo is now the virtual leader in the mountain's classification.
Quintaro has dropped Boasson Hagen and takes fourth on that climb. They're all going to get swallowed up byt the peloton soon.
Arredondo has managed to gain some time on the peloton one this descent. They cross the KOM line almost 2 minutes back.
This descent is going to be a tense one for the favourites. It's very narrow and very technical. It would be easy to come off the road, so they will all have to be very careful.
Arredondo continues to extend his advantage as he comes off the descent. He has 2:05 on the peloton.
We will have plenty of video from today's stage later today, remember to subscribe to oiur YouTube channel if you don't want to miss it, you can do it here
28km remaining from 179km
Pierre Rolland attacks off the front of the peloton and AG2R take up the chase.
Rolland is flying down the climb and using as much of the road as he can. This looks like a genuine attempt for the stage, but it may prove to be early.
Morabito has upped the pace and he is followed by Evans. They have made a small gap to the peloton.
Rolland is now only 1:35 back on Arredondo who has just passed under the 25km to go banner.
22km remaining from 179km
Arredondo will be at the second climb of the day very soon. Rolland is closing in on him.
Morabito is still leading the peloton with Evans in his wheel. Quintana has to chase on during this descent. Descending is not one of his strong points.
19km remaining from 179km
Rolland is now within a minute of Arredondo. He's taken that descent much quicker than the Colombian, who looked fairly tentative on some of those corners.
Rolland has joined Quemeneur, who rides him up to the back of Pirazzi and Quintaro. The duo don't wait as the ride straight passed, forcing Quintero to chase onto Rolland's wheel.
Boasson Hagen is still out on his own and chasing on. A great effort from him to get over the Carpegna.
Boasson Hagen is the second man on the road so it looks like he was able to catch and drop Pirazzi. Arredondo looks like he's struggling as he makes his way up the second climb of the day.
17km remaining from 179km
Boasson Hagen caught by the second chase group, lead by Quemeneur.
Boasson Hagen, Quintero and Quemeneur have all been dropped by that chase group. It is Rolland and Pirazzi together behind Arredondo.
With all of this movement behind, Arredondo is still holding a 50 second advantage over Rolland and 2:20 on the peloton.
Arredondo must be thinking about stage victory now. He still has 15 kilometres and another climb to go, but the peloton are getting further away. Will Rolland or Pirazzi spoil his day?
Astana lead a group behind the peloton. Tiralongo, Zeits and Scarponi are on the front.
14km remaining from 179km
Boasson Hagen and Quemeneur are looking over their shoulders, the peloton have them in their sights now.
Five kilometres remain until the final climb of the day. Can Arredondo hang on?
13km remaining from 179km
Rolland has begun to distance Pirazzi as they near the top of the penultimate climb. Pirazzi has been out for a long time today.
It looks like Pirazzi's time oput front is done, there is now a pretty large gap between himself and Rolland.
BMC have moved off the front and have been replaced AG2R and Vuillermoz once again.
Shot show Michael Matthews at the front of the gruppetto, he has lost 15 minutes.
11km remaining from 179km
Rolland doesn't seem to be able to close the gap to Arredondo at the moment. There is 2km to the top of this climb for Arredondo.
Cadel Evans is the virtual maglia rosa now and unless he is dropped he will have it at the finish today.
The peloton are closing in on Rolland and Arredondo now. With 10km to go they are 2:04 behind. There is still a chance to shut this down.
AG2R La Mondiale have a lot of work on the climbs today, they look like they want to deliver Pozzovivo to a victory today.
Arredondo takes full points at the top of the penultimate climb of the day.
Rolland crosses in second and has closed the gap to 55 seconds. It's only a short 1km descent before they start climbing again.
The bunch now go under the KOM banner and they're 1:47 behind Arredondo.
6km remaining from 179km
Whatever happens today Arredondo will wear the blue kersey of the mountains competition leader, but he's only interested in the victory at the moment.
It's getting colder and the clouds are hovering over the finish, but we should be free of rain.
We're climbing again and Rolland is beginning to pull Arredondo towards him. It's been a long day out front for the Colombian and the gap is now 42 seconds.
Pirazzi has been caught by the peloton. It's now only Arredondo and Rolland out front.
4km remaining from 179km
The gap between Arredondo keeps bouncing around but the Frenchman has cut it down to 35 seconds now. This could be a close call for the stage victory.
3km remaining from 179km
Arredondo keeps getting out of the saddle and giving little digs. He's on his limit, can he make it to the finish before he cracks?
Siutsou attacks the peloton, but he is quickly brought back in
3km remaining from 179km
Arredondo is really struggling and the gap is tumbling. It's only 17 seconds between the duo.
3km remaining from 179km
Rolland can see Arredondo, who keeps glancing over at the advancing Frenchman
Arredondo passes under the 3km to go banner, but it looks like his day is done as Rolland edges ever closer.
2km remaining from 179km
Behind this pair, the bunch have slashed the advantage to 45 seconds, as BMC come back to the front.
Rolland catches Arredondo, who now sits in his wheel
2km remaining from 179km
Both Arredondo and Rolland look like they are in trouble at the moment. Morabito is dragging them back, with Evans and Basso sitting in his wheel.
In this main group are Pozzovivo, Hesjedal, Evans, Quintana and Uran. Scarponi is still trying to get back on but it looks liek his GC bid is over.
1km remaining from 179km
Arredondo pops and is losing ground to Rolland.
Rolland is pedalling squares as the gradient goes up. There is still a 13% gradient near the top.
Arredondo is caught by the group as Landa attacks
Landa's attack is quickly quashed, but they've closed the gap to 15 seconds to Rolland
Rolland is into the final 500 metres
The peloton sit up and Rolland could take this
Daniel Moreno attacks
Moreno catches Rolland
Kiserlovski catches Moreno with Ulissi behind him
Ulissi wins stage 8
Kiserlovski takes second, then Kelderman, Quintana and Evans behind
That's a very impressive victory from Ulissi, he's really come along in the last two years.
Riders are now trickling through across the line. Scarponi is the big loser today
A very exciting finish there. Rolland caught with around 400 metres to go by Moreno, who is then caught by Kiserlovski and Ulissi. Ulissi used his superior sprinting to beat Kiserlovski on the line.
Cadel Evans is now into the maglia rosa, taking it from Michael Matthews.
Here is the top 10 from today:
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 4:47:47
2 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:06
4 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:08
6 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:14
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:17
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:00:20
This is the third time that Cadel Evans has taken pink jersey. He became the first Australian to do it back in 2002. Here is what he had to say at the finish.
"We had hopes of what we could do. It's been a really difficult Giro for all sort of reasons. We are in a good position at the moment. It was a hard stage with all the contenders there.
"Steve was really the man of the day for us, he was there to the finish. We all started the stage a little fatigued today and I think that showed at the end."
This is Diego Ulissi's second stage win at the Giro d'Italia. He said this after the stage.
"It was a difficult race today, it was really too hard for my characterisitcs, but of course I am really happy."
Here is how the top 3 in the general classificatino looks after that stage
1 Cadel Evans
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran 0:00:57
3 Rafal Majka 0:01:10
And finally here is a look at the top 10 after that very exciting stage
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 34:22:35
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:57
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:10
4 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:01:31
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:39
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:01:43
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:44
8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:45
9 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:49
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:50
Join us later for stage 7 of the Tour of California and tomorrow for stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia.
That is all from us on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia
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