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Giro d'Italia 2019: Stage 8


Welcome to the longest stage of this year's Giro d'Italia. 235km of flat roads before we come to a few bumps and climbs in the final hour or so of racing. 

We're by Tortoreto Lido for the start of today's mammoth stage, and the riders have almost completed their sign on duties. There's the maglia rosa, there's Simon Yates, and there's my will to live when I realise I'm the one that drew up the schedule and decided to put my initials down for today's live coverage duties. 


To be fair at least the crowds have turned out this morning and they're cheering Jumbo Visma as they make their way to the start-line. We roll out in 15 minutes and the official start should be about 10 minutes after that.


In the build up to the race we spoke to Matt White from Mithchelton Scott. Here's what the former rider turned DS had to say about today's stage:


"It’s another long stage but this should end in another sprint. At this point, though, the legs will be starting to hurt, because although we’ve not hit the real mountains, there are only a couple of days that have dropped below 200km. These are big days in the office. On this stage the wind along the coast it shouldn’t be a problem but there could be a slight headwind off the coast."



Just had the news broken to me that today's stage isn't 235km. It is in fact 239km in length. 

Shall we distract ourselves with a quick gander at the overall standings?


1 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 29:29:34
2 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:32
3 Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:41
4 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
5 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:17
6 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team 0:02:45
7 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:14
8 Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:25
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:03:27
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:04:57


While we're at it, here are the standings in the points competition too. Can Ackermann extend his lead in the competition? If he wins today and finishes the race then surely the jersey is his:


1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 133 pts
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 87
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 66
4 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 50
5 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 32
6 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 32
7 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 29
8 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 27
9 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 25
10 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 25


Conti, who leads the race, had this to say about today's stage:


"Tomorrow will be like today," Conti predicted. "It will be long battle and maybe with a more tired peloton."


With the time trial tomorrow the GC riders will want to save as much energy as possible and with the sprinters' teams running out of chances to win the peloton should be controlled by UAE for Conti, QuickStep and Bora.


At the start, we're almost ready to go. Slightly overcast conditions but the riders seem happy enough although there will be some tired legs out there. Just two more days, however, and they'll have a well-earned rest day and a chance to kick back and relax. 


And we're off. A relatively relaxed peloton rolling through the neutralized zone for the start of stage 8. In the background, there is a pigeon.


Artist's impression of today's start a few minutes ago.


Looking at the skies, there's some cloud cover for now but we're predicting rain later in the stage. No major attacks to report at the moment but it's very likely we'll have a break pretty soon.


A lot of teams will fancy their chances in the break. They'll look at the distance, the rolling terrain in the second half and they'll consider that FDJ, Bora and QuickStep don't really fancy chasing for 239km.


Tour of California: Richie Porte suffers ill-timed mechanical on Mt. Baldy 'It feels good to be back in the game'…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 09:27:02

And we have three riders on the attack already. They are: 

Marco Frapporti (ANS) 

Nathan Brown (EF1) 

Damiano Cima (NIP)


No time gap just yet but could this be the break of the day?


The sprinters' teams will be more than happy with the three riders out in front. They're decent for a trio but with such a long day ahead they'll be easy to control. You really want six to  eight riders in the break to really stand a chance on a day like this.


How to watch the Giro d'Italia: live stream for free and from anywhere #Giro |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 09:49:01

226km remaining from 239km

Well the three leaders are pressing on and after 13km of racing they have a gap of 2;55 over the UAE Team Emirates peloton. 


Van der Poel wins Albstadt Short Track at MTB World Cup |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 09:52:34

221km remaining from 239km

Didn't fancy it. Nathan Brown has decided he doesn't want to be in the break and has sat up, and that leaves us with just two riders in the break.


Courtney wins Albstadt Short Track and takes early MTB World Cup lead |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 09:55:27

At 239km, the longest stage of the 102nd Giro is divided into two distinct parts: it’s flat for 140km, following the Adriatic coast, before taking in a succession of undulations and punchy climbs for the remaining 100km to the finish. The route features a dozen ascents, including three categorised climbs. After crossing the Monte di Gabicce, the final 7km long descent ends 3km from the finish.


The two leaders haven't let the loss of Brown slow them down, however, and they've pushed their advantage out to a solid if not spectacular four minutes. 


207km remaining from 239km

The two leaders plough on and move their gap out to 4'47 with 32km of flat roads covered. Back in the bunch the maglia rosa rides near the front and he's kept out of trouble by his UAE Team Emirates squad. The team are leading both the Giro and the Tour of California at the moment. 


Yesterday's stage in cycling's fourth Grand Tour saw UAE take the lead through young sensation Pogacar on Mt. Baldy. You can read the report from stage 6 right here. It's been quite a week for UAE Team Emirates, leading races left right and centre but at the same time seeing Kristijan Durasek sent home from California due to the rider's links to a massive doping ring. 


Marco Frapporti has made it into the break so lets take a look at the 34 year old rider from Italy. He's a bit of a journeyman who has been with Savio's collective for a number of years and has picked up a number of wins, one of which came in the 2010 Tour of Britain when he beat Bradley Wiggins to the line. This is his sixth Grand Tour but he's never raced a GT outside of Italy. 


The hardest day so far: Attrition rate rises on the Giro d’Italia Roglic loses teammate De Plus as Gaviria abandon…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 10:30:11

Cima, you'll remember from that memorable win in the 2018 Tour of Xingtai. The 25-year-old's best results have come in Asia but the rider from Brescia is a handy little pro and his making his Grand Tour debut at the Giro this year. Wonder if he's a Brescia fan, as they're on course to be promoted to Serie A. 


200km remaining from 239km

The small matter of 200km to go and the gap is currently standing at 4'48. 


The peloton with the sprinters' teams and UAE are content to just keep the break at roughly five minutes for now. Little chance in this surviving but we could, perhaps, see some action during the second half of the stage when we have a few climbers peppered into the route.


The journalist Peter Cossins described this year's Giro d'Italia route as Jean-Marie Leblanc-esque, due to the long stages that haven't brought much in the way of excitement. The real talking points this year have centred around that Viviani sprint, and the loss of Bernal and Dumoulin over the last fortnight. What have you made of the Giro so far? Let us know here on Twitter.


Some news from California with Mark Cavendish coming through a tough day in the mountains. He could close out the race with a sprint, but as he says a lot depends on if he makes the selection on the final stage of racing. Come this way for the latest on the Dimension Data sprinter.


Sticking with the Tour of California, Richie Porte put in his best performance since the Tour Down Under with fourth on the road to Mt. Baldy. The Australian was hampered by a mechanical problem with his gears. Here's the Trek rider's story.

"The mechanical in the last kilometres was obviously ill-timed, but I don't know if I could have won today," Porte said. "Regardless of that mechanical and the result of today, it was nice to be back at the front of a bike race again."



The controversy over the yellow jersey will have mainly died down now that Van Garderen is out of the lead, but it rumbles on in the background. George Bennett is always up front about these sort of things and doesn't shy away from things. Here's the Jumbo Visma' reaction to the narrative


Reports of rain at the finish, which could make the finale very tricky indeed with the technical descent that comes before the finish.


Meanwhile the break have 5:53 over the main field after 69km of racing.


Bora and FDJ both have a rider on the front of the peloton but Simon Yates and his Mitchelton squad are near the front too, right by the maglia rosa.


Three top-fives in this race for Ewan but he's gone under the radar in the race. Could today be his day though? The stage is certainly long, and the technical finish may not entirely suit him but he's only got a couple of opportunities left. Right now the 24-year-old has committed one teammate to the chase.


George Bennett: Tour of California jury know they made the wrong call Jumbo-Visma rider pessimistic about GC chanc…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 11:20:01

Demare has been consistent in the race but just not fast enough. However the technical finish, the rain, and the length of the stage all play into the Frenchman's hands. 156km to go.


84km remaining from 239km

The gap has moved to 5'30 and there's no real panic in the bunch as we see Nibali move up. There's some talk of him taking on the wet descent to the line and looking to stretch his GC rivals. We'll see... as FDJ, Bora and Mitchelton control the main field.


 The main field is strung out but the pace is still steady rather than rapid as the break moves out to 5'48.

FDJ continue to believe in Demare. The Frenchman hasn't actually won a race this year, although as we've said he's been consistent throughout the campaign. 139km to go and the gap is at 5'26.


A reminder how things stand on GC coming into today's 239km stage.


1 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 29:29:34
2 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:32
3 Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:41
4 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
5 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:17
6 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team 0:02:45
7 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:14
8 Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:25
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:03:27
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:04:57
11 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:05:23
12 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:05:24
13 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
14 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:34
15 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:05:59
16 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:06:03


128km remaining from 239km

The break enjoy the biggest lead they've had today with the peloton allowing the gap to move out to 5'32 with 128km to go.


The maglia rosa takes a comfort break and the pace eases slightly in the main field as the two leaders plough on and gobble up the kilometers towards the finish. 


Frapporti is eating his lunch. 121km to go. Today stage, most of this week, is hardly a great advert for Grand Tour racing.


The bunch has just rolled through the feedzone as well as we head towards the second half of the stage. FDJ and Bora are still leading proceedings as we see Viviani drop back to the team car. 


Conti is surrounded by a clutch of UAE riders as we see Katusha rally around Zakarin. I'd almost forgotten that the Russian was in the race but he's here, sitting 27th on GC, and presumably waiting for the time trial and the mountains to come. 2018 wasn't the year he was hoping for but his form hasn't been too bad recently with a top ten in a Romandie. That was a race he won though back in 2015.


Lotto Soudal have just Tweeted that the stage has been neutralized from 3km to go. That's still on the descent... which seems like a strange call. We'll wait for the organisers to confirm the news. 


Roglic, out of pink, sits in the middle of the field and he'll be resting as much as possible ahead of tomorrow's key stage. Here's what Matt White had to say about stage 9 and tomorrow's important time trial:


"This is actually a time trial with something in there for everyone. There’s flattish terrain and then around 14km of climbing towards the finish which comes in the form of multiple ramps. My initial thoughts were that riders would change bikes and move to a road bike for the second half but the more analysis we do the more I don’t think that will be the case. Some riders might disagree but there are some downhill sections in between the climbs so you’ll lose 20 seconds on the change before hitting 50kph again on the short downhill sections. You don’t want to be on a road bike for those sections. Overall this first part of the race is one of the easiest openings to the Giro in recent memory but I know what’s coming from the time trial all the way to the finish, with all those mountain stages. It’s a race of two halves and the second part of the race is just relentless."


Demare picks up some points at the intermediate but Ackermann follows him and is fourth. 


The gap to the break has come down slightly and sits at 4'50 as we race towards the coast. Is there any sign of a cross wind? No. There's nothing. 


100km remaining from 239km

99km to go and the gap continues to tumble, and it's down to 3'50. 


We do have three categorized climbs coming up but nothing above a third cat as the gap between the break and the peloton stands at 2.2km as we see Cima and Frapporiti rise out of the saddle as they begin to climb.


A few spots of rain have begun to fall on the CN blimp as the two leaders push back and hold their gap at 4;00. 91km to go.


De Gendt sits on the front and he'll be there for a while yet, while Mitchelton have joined Lotto Soudal in Tweeting that the race will end on GC from 3km out. 


There's no word from RCS on the neutralization but surely they would be better off putting the neutralization at the top of the climb, rather than halfway down the descent. 


84 kilometers to go and rain is making an appearance at #Giro102. Cima and Frapporti lead by four minutes.

@deceuninck_qst Sat, 18th May 2019 12:59:01

The gap has come down to 3'20 due to the pressure from De Gendt. The rain is still there but it's less than a gentle shower. 


Van der Breggen on Hall's California stage win: It wasn't a difficult choice Boels Dolmans teammates benefit from…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 13:01:01

The weather can't be too bad as we see a Bahrain rider sit up at the front of the peloton and take off his jacket. 


Into the final 80km of action with the gap at 3'08.


We're climbing again and FDJ have moved back to the front of the peloton. 76km to go and the roads are wet in some sections. 


Ewan is keeping out of trouble near the front of the bunch as well and he has De Gendt close by with the Belgian sitting in third wheel. It's still FDJ and Bora who are sharing the workload as the gap to the break drops to 3'00.


Mitchelton are keeping Yates near the front as well and the British rider might try and test his rivals on the final climb before the finish but it's still not clear if the finish will be neutralized for the GC at the 3km mark. We've only got a few teams tweeting about it at the moment.


The leading pair are climbing right now and they're holding their advantage at 2'57 with 71km to go.


And on the climb Cima is starting to slip back as he cant hold the pace from Frapporti who is set to take maximum points. 


Frapporti goes over the top and the gap is at 2'52 with 69km to go.


The leading pair regroup on the descent but another 20 seconds has been chipped off their lead.


The rolling roads are a constant theme right now and it's like this for the rest of the day with 65km to go. It looks like Cima has  a mechanical but he finds the gear he wants, with the help of Frapporti. 


Lotto have hit the front in numbers now and the gap has come down to 2'15. The Belgian team are showing their intent and are clearly backing Ewan to win his first Grand Tour stage of the year. 


Tour of California: Pogacar seizes control on Mt. Baldy 'This feels different' 20-year-old Slovenian says of first…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th May 2019 13:40:23

58km left and the gap has dropped under two minutes for the first time since the break merged in the early moments of the stage.


De Gendt is back to the front once more and setting the pace on another uncategorized climb as we see the two leaders starting to really struggle out there. Yates, near the front, looks as fresh as a daisy. 


Still De Gendt and still the gap continues to tumble, with the advantage down to 1'34. 51km to go.


We're getting closer and closer to a sprint finish as the gap drops to 1;07 due to the pressure from Lotto Soudal. Conti is sitting in the main field and looks comfortable but this could be  a complicated finish, especially if it rains again.


Flat section and Lotto Soudal put the hammer down in their pursuit of the break as we move into the final 40km of the stage. Just 59 seconds for the leaders.


40km to and we're onto the second of three climbs. Mitchelton have hit the front to protect Yate's position as the gap falls to 23 seconds.


39km remaining from 239km

Cima has been caught and the bunch are splitting up under the pressure. It's not been a hard stage but it's been so, so long as Frapporti presses on but he knows that it's almost all over.


This climb is longer than the first one and we've still got around 3km to go. 


Ciccone who leads the mountains classification has taken off and he is alone as he goes after more points. The rain is falling again and we're starting to see a race emerge after a few dour hours at the Giro d'Italia.


Ciccone is going to catch Frapporti before the top.


The pair have a chat and Frapporti, fair to him, wants to sprint. As you'd expect it's the Trek rider who takes it. 


Ciccone has stayed out there but his lead is just ten seconds as we see the rain ease again. 33km to go.


We're over the penultimate climb and we've just one more to go. All the remaining sprinters are present with 27km to go as Lotto continue to do all the work. 


Onto the final climb and Lotto's intent is clear but what will they have left for the finish? Nothing from Visma today and they're taking it easy but still looking to protect Roglic. There's an 11 per cent gradient on the climb so it's not easy and now w'ere on the lower slopes. 


Landa is well placed and all the GC men are attentive as riders are spat out the back, as Mitchelton pick up the pace.  25km to go.


Sunweb have attacked and Ciccone goes too as he looks to gobble up more mountain points. The Trek rider is intent on extending his lead.  And now AG2R have attacked. 


Cicconi takes over at the front of this three man move and he takes three points. 


13 seconds for the lead trio, who are taking advantage of their min-break. 22km to go as Ciccone leads his two escape buddies down the descent. They are Louis Vervaeke and Francois Bidard. 16 seconds now. Interesting. Almost.


Now 21 seconds as we see Visma for the first time today. The sprinters survived that climb and they've eased off a bit as the gap goes out to 30 seconds. Still not a concern at this stage. 


Bidard is huffing and puffing as Ciccone gives him a bit of chat. 40 seconds now as the sprinters' team just sit on the front. FDJ move up. 


A Trek rider raises his head and shouts for the moto to move away from the bunch as he has a rider up the road. That's fair because that bike is way too close to the peloton. 47 seconds for the trio and if they can get to a minute they might have a chance.


Bora recognise the danger now, and put a man on the front for Ackermann and the gap instantly drops by five seconds. 


17km remaining from 239km

And the rain comes down again, just as the leaders hit a technical descent. Lets hope that they stay safe out there. 


33 seconds now for the trio but we still have one more climb before the finish. 16km to go and the rain is falling consistently now. 


It's not a full on shower but it's the sort of drizzle your mother would tut at as she watched you leave the house without a coat. That sort of rain. 15km to go.


Lotto Soudal move back to the front and Ewan is well placed, still. 


There are some really tight corners on this current descent but Lotto make it look easy as Ackermann moves up. 


These three leaders are descending with real skill and verve here in very tricky conditions but the gap is slowly ticking down. It's at 29 seconds.


We're climbing now with 10km to go and Bora increase the pace and string out the field as the gap drops to 20 seconds. 


And now it's just Bidard and Ciccone left as the Sunweb chap cracks under the pressure. 15 seconds with 9km to go.


Ewan has just one teammate left with him, no sign of Kluge as the road continues to rise. We're back to three leaders again.


Nibali is near the front....


Will the Italian attack on the descent?


Nibali is well placed and he looks keen on trying something. Will he have the chance because the pace is so high right now. 10 seconds for the leading trio.


Nibali is third wheel.  As we see Ciccone attack. 


Visma are wise to the Nibali threat and they lead the peloton.


6km to go and the leaders are caught. We're about to start the descent. 


The pace is so high that it's unlikely we'll see an attack. Visma put the hammer down.


Now it's QuickStep who lead and Viviani is present and accounted for.


5km remaining from 239km

5km to go and QuickStep lead the field. 


Demare, Ackermann, Viviani, and Ewan. They are all there. 3.8km to go.


3km to go and still QuickStep lead. We have one more tricky corner.... and they're around safely, which is good to see. 


Viviani needs to move. 


QuickStep and Bora start to take control 


1.7km to go and Bora have three on the front for Ackermann. 


Ewan is glued to Ackermann's wheel. 


Big turn from Formolo now. 


800m to go and Viviani comes back.


Here we go...

Ackermann, Ewan and then Viviani with 200m to go.


Caleb Ewan. Caleb Ewan. Caleb Ewan wins stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia. 


That's a massive, massive win for the Australian.


Ewan used his team earlier in the stage and was alone. He was on Ackermann's wheel and used the final corner perfectly. Viviani was third but no doubt that Ewan was the best placed and the fastest rider on the day. 


Ackermann went first but it was Ewan who took a comfortable win. 


That's his second Giro stage win, his first coming in 2017, and just his third Grand Tour stage win, but it's his first in Lotto Soudal colours and it takes the pressure off after that move from Mitchelton Scott. 


YESS!! Stage win for @CalebEwan!! #Giro102 Ewan does an enormous sprint and wins the eighth stage ahead of Viviani…

@Lotto_Soudal Sat, 18th May 2019 15:11:58

Here's our top-ten for the stage:


1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 5:43:32
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
5 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
8 Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
9 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
10 Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe


And here's the GC. No changes.


General classification after stage 8
1 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 35:13:06
2 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:32
3 Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:41
4 Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
5 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:17
6 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team 0:02:45
7 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:14
8 Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:25
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:03:27
10 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:04:57


Ewan just looked so fresh in finish. Ackermann had the lead going into the final corner but Ewan had the speed, the kick, and the momentum. Job done.


Safely arrived in the first group. @IlnurZakarin after a long day in the saddle 239 km #giro stage 8.

@katushacycling Sat, 18th May 2019 15:17:51

Lets hear from today's winner:



We've been trying pretty much all seven days now that we've been here, and i'm just so happy to repay them with the win now.

I thought if I was feeling good that I'd go first through the last corner, but it was still a long way to go and I wasn't feeling that good. It was quite a hard final - harder than I thought it would be. I just waited, I knew I had a good kick so I just waited til he (Ackermann) went then I came around him.
It means a lot. I have a lot of pressure on me to win races now. The difference now is I'm expected to win. I had an alright start to the year, but not a great one. To win here means the world to me.


And here's the race leader Conti:


It was a hard stage today in the final. In the downhill it was dangerous, but I have a big team, and they were super today. It was for the sprinters today. I stayed in the group, no problem. I hope tomorrow to keep the maglia rosa.


Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) - second on the stage

"I think he had the most reserves today. He looked really strong. You can see how strong he accelerated in the sprint. I was just on the limit and Caleb was the strongest today. Maybe we were too far in the front because all the others came from the back. Now we have to analyze the final and then we see what we did wrong. I still have my jersey and tomorrow is hopefully is easy, and then there are two more chances for us."



Our complete finish line quotes story is right here.


Our full reports, results and photos can be found here.

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