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Giro d'Italia 2017: Stage 8

Good morning, and a warm welcome to Cyclingnews' liver coverage of stage 8 of the 2017 Giro d'Italia. Blockhaus looms large on Sunday, but before then we have this 189km leg from Molfetta to Peschici, which will give the puncheurs a chance to shine.

Beautiful scene in Molfetta this morning as riders, teams and fans arrive

 

 

The riders will roll out at 12:25 local time and, after the customary neutralised section, the race proper will get underway at around 12:35. 

Race leader Bob Jungels signs on, for what he has suggested may be his penultimate day in the maglia rosa. 

 

 

Here's how things stand on GC going into today's stage

 

1 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 33:56:07
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:06
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:10
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
10 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
11 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
12 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky
13 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
14 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:14
15 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:23

 

You can catch up on all of yesterday's action with our stage 7 report, which includes video highlights, results and photos.

 

Giro d'Italia: Ewan pips Gaviria to win stage 7

 

Stage preview

 

Think today's stage is merely a continuation of the pre-amble ahead of the reignition of the GC battle on Blockhaus tomorrow? Think again. As Barry Ryan writes, there are pitfalls aplenty on the Gargano Peninsula and vigilance will be the order of the day for the overall contenders. 

 

Here is the full preview

 

You have the stage profile at the top of your screens but you probably can't see the final kilometre in detail. Here it is:

 

 

They're off

 

The riders have just left Molfetta and are on the 4km neutralised section.

Tejay Van Garderen knows this is an important day. "You've got to ride the stage like you're going for the win and stay out of trouble," he said at sign-on. 

Photo: @giroditalia

 

The flag is waved and the race is officially underway. Now it's time for the fight to make it into the breakaway, which, ocnsidering the break made it all the way a couple of days ago, should be fairly intense. 

As expected, plenty of attacks in the opening kilometres. Five riders clipped off the front of the bunch but they were brought to heel. More hopefuls are trying their luck.

 

No freedom being awarded to anyone at the moment.

 

174km remaining from 189km

15 kilometres in and it's still all together. The peloton is strung out and the pace is high. 

 

We're still waiting for a move to stick. This is a really fast start to the day.

 

149km remaining from 189km

We're already 40 kilometres into the stage and still we have no breakaway. The average speed for the first hour is going to be above 50km/h. 

 

Two riders on the move now. A huge sprint in the peloton behind. 

 

That move comes to nothing but Viacheslav Kuznetsov goes on the attack. 

Splits in the bunch. It's pretty windy on these exposed coastal roads. 

 

We have a couple of sizeable groups off the back of the peloton. A large group is also starting to form out front but more riders are setting off trying to get up there. 

 

This large break has a good gap but the peloton strings out once again. There's ovbiously some teams who have missed the break and want to be in there.

 

Plenty more riders pinging off the front of the bunch now.

 

The 13 riders in the break

 

Jan Barta (Bora-Hansgrohe), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Branislau Samoilau (CCC), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin), Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Vincenzo Albanese (Bardiani-CSF), Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step), Chris Juul-Jensen (Orica-Scott), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac)

 

Race leader Bob Jungels is second wheel in the peloton as it lines out. 

With Blockhaus tomorrow, the GC men would have been hoping for a quiet day today, and an early breakaway. But the flat opening half of the stage - before the difficulties begin later on - is anything but straight forward. It's relentless. 

 

Three riders are in between the break and the bunch - Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Lukas Postlberger (Bora) and Gregor Muhlberger (Bora).

 

130km remaining from 189km

It seems the peloton is easing up and letting this break go, finally.

The peloton spreads across the road and some take the opportunity to take a comfort break. 

 

Sanchez, Postlberger, and Muhlberger all grimace as they fight to make the bridge to the break. And they're going to do it. 

 

So, that gives us 16 riders in the breakaway. And after such an intense start, and with such a demanding day tomorrow, the GC teams surely won't want to kill themselves for the remainder of the day, which gives those 16 a great chance of contesting stage honours. 

 

Photo: @giroditalia

 

Oh no. Wilier Triestina have missed out and they put five men on the front of the bunch. Too little, too late, surely, as the gap goes out to 2:25.

 

Muhlberger is the best placed rider in the break GC-wise. He's over 10 minutes down on the maglia rosa. 

 

Gazprom, who've also missed out, come to the front now, and it seems all is not calm in the peloton, after all. 

 

It's strung out, and there's a minor split here in the wind. 

 

119km remaining from 189km

The gap comes down to 2:10

 

You should now be able to see the full race situation on the bar to the right-hand side of your screen. 

 

I didn't think I'd be saying it this early, but we're coming up to the first of two categorised climbs on today's route. It's the second-category Monte Sant'Angelo - 10km long with an average gradient of around 6%. 

 

 

Have you listened to our latest podcast?

 

We discuss the state of the GC battle and look ahead to Blockhaus, with input from DS's Fabricio Guidi, Dario Cioni and Max Sciandri.

 

Looming Blockhaus climb set to break stalemate in battle for pink - Giro d'Italia Podcast

 

109km remaining from 189km

1:45 is the gap now. Gazprom are making inroads. 

 

105km remaining from 189km

The gap stabilises at 1:48 as most of the breakaway riders continue to collaborate.

 

The break come to the first intermediate sprint and Keisse accelerates to pick up maximum points. That helps protect the lead of his teammate Fernando Gaviria in the points classification.

 

100km remaining from 189km

The breakaway hits the lower slopes of the climb with a lead of 1:35

 

 The peloton has just passed through the feed zone.

This Giro is boring. The riders are boring and have no personalities. They depend too much on technology. At least according to a man known as much for his personality as for his many many wins, Mario Cipollini. You can his comments here. 

 

92km remaining from 189km

Lulu Sanchez leads the break group up the first climb of the day. With 97 km still to go, the gap is down to 1:12.

 

Sanchez sees the shrinking gap and seems to think the group is too big to be allowed to stay away. He tries to get away, followed by Samoilau.

 

 Sanchez is now alone in the front. He has 29 seconds on the break group, with the field at only 56 seconds. 

Only 7 ridrs now in the previous break group. Meanwhile, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida) jumps from the peloton.

 

The gap is down to 44 seconds now. Visconti has joined the remains of the break group.

 

A complicated situation at the moment. Sanchez is in the lead. The former chase group now has 56 seconds. A larger group is at 1.10, and the Maglia Rosa is with an even larger group at 1:38. Quintana is also in this group, but we do not know where the other GC candidates are.

 

It now looks as if the two large chasing groups have joined up. Many riders have already fallen back, though.

 

Visconti and Sbaragli now have a small lead on the first chase group.

 

And they are still not at the top of this Cat. 2 climb.

 

1 km for Sanchez to the top.

 

Sanchez takes the mountain points. We once again have three chasing groups, at 1:06, 1:17 and 1:56 (Maglia Rosa).

 

The third group consists of two riders, Chevrier (AG2R) and Amezqueta (Willier).

 

Meanwhile, the QuickStep-led main group has moved up to only 1:26 down.

 

The long climb is followed by a long descent, and everyone is flying down it. 

 

The road on the descent looks to be newly paved.

 

Two more riders have broken loose from the large group and are trying to join the 2 chasers in the third group. If that makes sense.....

 

The field doesn't have to worry too much about Sanchez. He came into the stage as 53rd, at 14:16 down.

 

The chase group with Visconti is catching up on Sanchez. With 73 km to go, their gap is down to 42 seconds. The Jungels group is at 1:44

 

Once again, the second and third group have joined. That means, the four riders who jumped from the field have met up with the first chase group. Now 34 seconds to Sanchez, with the field at 1:57.

 

With the gap to the main group now at the two minute mark, two more riders jump to try their luck..

 

It is Barbin and Boem, both of Bardiani.

 

The 12 in the chase group are: Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Gregor Mühlberger, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-hansgrohe), Davide Villella (Cannondale - Drapac), Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Laurent Didier (Trek - Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Julien Amezqueta (Wilier - Selle Italia), Clement Chevrier (AG2R La Mondiale), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and Ivan Rovny /Gazprom - Rusvelo)

Sanchez's solo flight is over. The 12 man group has now caught him.

14 out front now

 

Barbin and Boem make contact with the front of the race.

66km remaining from 189km

With the beautiful turquoise sea flanking the race at the moment, the parcours rolls up and down. The leaders are coming to the end of a short climb. 

63km remaining from 189km

Katusha are working on the front of the peloton. The gap is 3:20 at the moment. 

 

Visconti, Villella, Conti, Sbaragli, Barbin, Boem...

 

Plenty of Italians up the road. Is today the day we'll get the first home stage winner at the 100th Giro? Barry Ryan reports that the drought is becoming increasingly concerning in Italy. 

 

Italian drought continues at Giro d'Italia

Postlberger hits the deck as the break push on down a short descent, extending their lead to 4:10. The Bora rider is up and going again pretty quickly. 

 

Quick-Step come forward now to take some of the responsibility from Katusha.

 

It's splitting up front as the break hit the second categorised climb of the day. 

 

The climb is the Coppa Santa Tecla. It's fourth-category and around 6km long. 

 

The breakaway group comes back together but collaboration isn't as strong as it could be.

 

50km remaining from 189km

The breakaway riders pass under the 50km to go banner with a lead of 4:16.

 

Max Richeze is on the front of the bunch for Quick-Step and he's reduced the gap to 3:30. 

 

Luis Leon Sanchez leads the break over the top of the climb. As with the earlier cat-2 climb, he takes the maximum quota of KOM points, but in truth that was far from the front of the riders' minds. 

 

44km remaining from 189km

The peloton comes over the climb 3 mintues in arrears.

 

39km remaining from 189km

The terrain is rolling all the way to our punchy finale. Nicola Boem flats on a stiff incline and it's not a good time for a mechanical, with the pace in the break lifted as a result of the Quick-Step led charge of the peloton.

 

The gap comes down to 2 minutes now.

Conti accelerates. The Italian knows something needs to be done to stem the tide and he takes off in a bid to shift some dead weight and drive the gap back up. Visconti follows. 

 

Conti's attack has created a selection, with Sanchez, Izagirre, Muhlberger, and Visconti joining Conti. 

 

Villella leads the chase.

The road pitches back uphill as it rounds another headland. Villella is chasing hard but these five have a decent gap.

It will be well worth watching our highlights video later. The views of the Adriatic have been stunning all day long. 

 

Conti picks up 3 bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint point. He extends his virtual overall lead on the road but will be more concerned with trying to bag himself a stage win. 

 

Still waiting for a time check to the rest of the break but the front five are collaborating well.

25km remaining from 189km

Into the final 25km and the pace is high in all groups. 

 

The peloton is strung out - Quick-Step still lead the way - and they're just under three minutes behind the five leaders.

 

A reminder that Conti started the day 2:10 down on GC. Quick-Step are still riding hard to protect the maglia rosa with the gap at 2:45.

 

The nine dropped breakaway riders are still working hard together. They're 30 seconds behind the five leaders. 

 

18km remaining from 189km

2:30 the gap now as the five leaders start putting in digs, with things running a little less smoothly. 

Luis Leon Sanchez is the most experienced and richly decorated rider in the front group, but Visconti is the only former winner of a Giro stage. Conti won a stage of last year's Vuelta solo, while Izagirre hasn't won at WorldTour level and youngster Muhlberger hasn't won as a pro yet at all. 

 

14km remaining from 189km

2 minutes is the gap now with 14 to go. Quick-Step are still riding and it seems they'll keep the maglia rosa here, but the stage win seems destined for one of the five riders up the road. 

 

"The closing kilometres provide something of a classic puncheur's finale," writes Barry Ryan in his stage preview. "The unclassified ascent of the Coppa del Fornaro comes just 6.2 kilometres from the line, while the finish on Peschici's Via Montesanto is an uphill one. The road kicks up throughout the final 1500 metres, with the gradient stiffening to 12% in the final 400 metres."

 

Here's your last chance to read about the finale before we see it play out

 

Pitfalls aplenty on the Gargano Peninsula

 

 

Alasdair Fotheringham, meanwhile, gets in touch to tell me the last couple of kilometres are "insanely twisty".

 

Conti drives again!

 

The UAE rider is in the mood here. Izagirre follows while the others fight to claw their way back. All five back together again.

 

Visconti attacks now. Sanchez on the front but he pulls over. Can the Bahrain rider make this work?

There are 10.5km to go and the road is pitching uphill again. Conti leads the chase of Visconit.

 

10km remaining from 189km

Conti drags his way back to Visconti, with Izagirre and Sanchez in the wheel. Muhberger has been dropped.

 

Conti digs again now, forcing everyone into another mini-sprint when they were hoping for a breather. He looks the strongest here. 

 

Mikel Landa attacks from the peloton!

 

Well, we said this could be a GC day, but we weren't expecting any long range attacks from the overall contenders...

 

8km remaining from 189km

Sanchez attacks from the break now. Visconti follows. 

 

The breakaway riders continue to knock chunks out of one another. Izagirre is the next to go. Visconti again the one to follow. 

 

Landa has 15 seconds over the peloton.

 

7km remaining from 189km

Genuis or folly from Landa? He looks behind and sees the peloton. He has about 10 seconds now but the bunch is thinned out with no team with big numbers at the front.

 

Izagirre and Visconti are still together at the head of the race. Conti is forcing Sanchez to close the gap.

 

6km remaining from 189km

Sanchez and Conti are back. Four at the front again. 

 

Conti accelerates now after that free ride. It's relentless out front. 

 

Landa has a few seconds at best. Sunweb are on the front of the bunch. 

 

4km remaining from 189km

Landa is caught as FDJ hit the front. 

 

One minute is the gap between the four leaders and the peloton.

3km remaining from 189km

3km to go now as the leaders hit the flat. Soon they'll be heading uphill for this punchy, twisty finale. 

 

In the peloton Pinot hits the nose, Nibali second wheel. Positioning will be crucial for the GC men in the final 2km.

 

Here we go. 45 seconds for the leaders as they take on the climb in the last 1.5km. 

 

Conti on the front, and they're looking at each other.

 

1km remaining from 189km

30 seconds now as the peloton hits the climb.

 

Still Conti leads under the flamme rouge.

 

Crash! Conti comes down on one of those tight bends. 

 

The other three press on. Izagirre has a gap

 

Sanchez chasing but the gap is growing. Visconti is fading. 

 

Izagirre takes a careful line round another corner. The road is about to hit double digit gradients.

Here comes Izagirre. He has surely got this.

 

Gorka Izaguirre wins stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia

 

The Movistar man sits up and celebrates. Visconti was comign back but couldn't maintain his effort to the line. He takes second. 

 

Sanchez takes third but the peloton is right there with him and it seems the GC riders all finish together.

 

No stage victory for the home nation after eight Giro d'Italia days. Never seen before.

@CafeRoubaix Sat, 13th May 2017 15:01:35

Photo: @giroditalia

 

Top 10

 

1 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 4:24:59
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:05
3 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:10
4 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:12
5 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
10 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors

 

General classification after stage 8



1 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 38:21:18
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:06
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:10
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
7 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ

 

Landa takes a drink before being asked: "Why?"

 

 

 

Mikel Landa gives a brief word to TV

 

"I sensed that the other teams were cooling off, so I thought I’d give it a go and try and take advantage of that. It didn’t quite work out but I’m happy with it."

Another trip to the podium for race leader Bob Jungels

 

 

And here are Jungels's thoughts on today's stage

 

"We did a pretty good job today. We showed we had some patience in the team because on the climb our best guys to pull were dropped. Then with Conti in front there was a little game but in the end we did really well to wait for our strong horses to come back and then pull the breakaway almost back at the finish."

 

Explaining his bloodied knee, he added: "Everything is all right, it was a stupid crash on the downhill I hit the back wheel of a teammate, I wasn’t paying attention. No excuse for tomorrow!"

#Giro100

Stage winner Gorka Izagirre with a brief word ahead of his press conference. 

 

"I'm very happy. it was a hard stage, we started very fast. I'm very happy with the victory."

#Giro100 @valerioconti93 :"I’m so sorry, I believed in the victory maybe I exaggerated a bit in the turn pedalling… https://t.co/xWM7lAeOuf

@TeamUAEAbuDhabi Sat, 13th May 2017 15:38:34

Here's our report page, where you can find our full account of the day's action, along with full results and plenty of photos.

 

Giro d'Italia: Gorka Izagirre wins in Peschici

 

 

We already have video highlights for you to re-live it all.

 

Giro d'Italia stage 8 highlights - Video

And here's all the instant post-stage reaction, in one safe place.

 

Giro d'Italia stage 8 finish line quotes

 

Here's what's coming up tomorrow. Not to be missed. 

 

 

That's all from us for today. We'll be back, of course, for full live coverage of tomorrow's all-important Blockhaus stage. Make sure you join us again for that one. In the meantime, we'll have all the news and reaction coming from today's stage on www.cyclingnews.com.

 

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