Beñat Intxausti attacked from a splintered breakaway in the final four kilometres on the climb to Campitello Matese to take a solo win on stage eight of the Giro d’Italia.
The Movistar rider was one of nine riders who spent a large portion of the day chasing Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Kristof Vandewalle (Trek), only to power past them in the closing stages.
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As Intxausti’s chasing group looked to be losing the battle to overhaul the three up the road, the Spaniard and Swiss Sebastian Reichenbach took it upon themselves to do the hard work.
Together they picked off a struggling Betancur and Vandewalle before Intxausti went alone to speed past Kruijswijk, who had spent the majority of the stage out on his own at the front.
Behind Intxausti the drama of the General Classification unfolded on the climb as Astana’s Fabio Aru showed his intentions by making the first attack. Richie Porte and a grimacing Alberto Contador followed, as did Aru’s teammate Mikel Landa.
Landa went off on his own in search of Intxausti as a small group of favourites, including Rigoberto Uran and former winner Damiano Cunego reformed.
Cunego had a fleeting burst off the front before Aru upped the pace once more in search of precious seconds, trying to distance Alberto Contador, but the Spaniard’s dislocated shoulder did not hamper his climbing too much.
Intxausti soloed to the win with a sizeable gap between himself and Landa, while Reichenbach held on for third.
Giro d’Italia stage eight, Fiuggi – Campitello Matese (186km)
1. Beñat Intxausti (Esp) Movistar, 4:51:34
2. Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, at 20s
3. Sebastian Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling, at 31s
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 35s
5. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, st
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx-Quick-Step, st
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana, st
9. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini, at 45s
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, st
1. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, 32:40:07
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 4s
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, at 22s
4. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana, at 30s
5. Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, at 42s
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1min
7. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, at 1m16
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx-Quick-Step, at 1m24
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, at 1m34
10. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar, at 1m38