GC hits a stalemate on summit finish to Montevergine
Best young rider Richard Carapaz (Movistar) became the first Ecuadorian to win a Grand Tour stage after making a late attack on the final climb of stage eight of the Giro d’Italia.
The 24-year-old left it until within the final 2km to launch an attack, riding past the remaining breakaway rider Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) on the summit finish to Montevergine.
Despite the main peloton remaining close behind, no-one was able to stop the ferocious attack of Carapaz, who rode clear to victory.
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the overall lead after the stage, holding onto to a late attack from Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), who took four bonus seconds for finishing third behind Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) in second.
There were no significant changes in the overall top-10 with every rider finishing safely, with Pinot moving up to fourth place at 41 seconds and Carapaz jumping three places to eighth at 1-06.
How it happened
Saturday’s stage eight would see the riders take on 209km towards the summit finish of Montevergine, on a big weekend at the Giro d’Italia with two consecutive summit finishes.
With today’s finish the easier of the two, a breakaway would likely fancy its chances, and as such the racing began at a furious pace with riders trying to make it into the escape in sunny conditions at the start.
Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r La Mondiale), Rodolfo Torres (Androni), Davide Villella (Astana), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) and Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) were the seven riders who eventually were allowed to form after 50km of racing, establishing a maximum gap of just over five minutes.
And that gap maintained for much of the day towards the final climb, hovering at 4-40 as they began the closing 50km, but that dropped down to 3-50 with 25km remaining as the peloton increased the pace.
The break continued to work well together though despite the gap dropping to 2-40 just 5km later, and to 2-28 when they hit the final climb of Montevergine at 17.1km to go, with the rain now falling heavily.
Things got cagier between the breakaway riders as they hit the early slopes, with just 1-49 between the groups as the peloton hit the final climb.
After some shot-lived attacks, just four riders in Polanc, Mohoric, Bouwman and Montaguti, were ahead of the peloton with 7.3km to go with the gap down to 48 seconds on the fast, flowing climb.
Behind, the peloton rode contently together, with Chris Froome (Team Sky) crashing on a hairpin of the climb with 5.3km to go. He seemed alright, if not a bit nervous, as he began to make his way back to the bunch and to the front.
Up front, young Dutchman Bouwman attacked with 3.8km to go, holding off the bunch at 16 seconds with the rain heavily falling on the riders.
But the gap continued to close and attack at 2km remaining from Alexandre Geniez (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Richard Carapaz meant the Dutchman was caught, with Carapaz then going out alone just before the final kilometre, holding on for victory.
Thibaut Pinot attacked in the final kilometre to try and take bonus seconds on the line, but was tracked all the way and missed out to Davide Formolo on the line, as the other GC riders finished in the same group behind.
Sunday will see the riders take on a mountainous day and a summit finish on a long 229km course from Pesco Sannita to Gran Sasso d’Italia.
Giro d’Italia 2018, stage eight: Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano (209km)
1 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team, in 5-11-35
2 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 7s
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
5 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac
10 Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana Pro Team, all same time
Overall classification after stage eight
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, in 31-43-12
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 16s
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott, at 26s
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 41s
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 45s
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 53s
7 Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 1-03
8 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team, at 1-06
9 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 1-10
10 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1-11