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Giro d’Italia Stage Eight: Victor Lafay Wins From The Break

Today, the Giro d’Italia’s first weekend of climbing produced a breakaway battle that was ultimately won by Victory Lafay. The win was the first WorldTour victory in the career of the 25-year-old Frenchman. 

 

The victory is also Cofidis’ first stage triumph at the Giro since 2010. Prior to last season, the French team had been absent from the race for nine straight years.

 

The race was chaotic from the get-go, with echelons and a fast start splitting up the riders. Eventually, order was established. A group of nine riders formed the day’s break. Working together well, they created enough of an advantage to ensure that they would fight for the stage win among themselves. 

 

Sprinter Fernando Gaviria was the first member of the break to attack on the descent of the Bocca della Selva. Unfortunately, Gaviria crashed just moments after trying to make the difference. 

 

A few other riders took turns trying to go solo, with Victor Campenaerts involving himself regularly. In the end, it was Campenaerts and Giovanni Carboni who had a slight advantage as the race headed into the final five kilometers. 

 

Lafay made his winning move with around 2.7 kilometers to the top of the Guardia Sanframondi. The Frenchman attacked out of the chasing group and quickly bridged across to Carboni, who was the lone leader. As soon as he reached Carboni he attacked, getting the gap he needed for the stage win.

 

Francesco Gavazzi came back slightly towards the end, but Lafay held on to win by a healthy margin of 36 seconds.

 

 

GC And Other Classifications

 

There was no change atop the general classification, with Attila Valter hanging on to the maglia rosa by 11 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel.

 

 

The one change in the top ten was that Louis Vervaeke fell from fifth place to tenth. 

 

By virtue of defending his overall lead, Valter also remained in first in the youth category.

 

Gino Mäder kept hold of his maglia azzurra as the leader of the mountains classification. With quite a few classified climbs in tomorrow’s stage, Mäder may need to make it into the break if he wishes to keep the jersey for another day.

 

The only distinctive jersey that switched hands on the day was the maglia ciclamino of the points classification. Leader Caleb Ewan withdrew from the race, meaning that Tim Merlier inherited the lead. Given that Ewan has stated an aim of winning a stage in all three grand tours this season, he was expected to withdraw at some point. Since he picked up two wins on stages five and seven, it makes sense to avoid adding more fatigue to his legs.

 

The team classification is led by the Ineos Grenadiers, who sit 1:05 ahead of Bahrain-Victorious.

 

Final Thoughts

 

The 2021 Giro d’Italia has been kind to breakaways, with four of the seven road stages going to escapees. 

 

It is certainly possible that the up and down profile of stage nine could encourage a continuation of this trend. However, tomorrow is likely to see some more serious interest from the GC teams. 

 

Given that Tuesday’s rest day is just around the corner, tomorrow could be the day that a serious pre-race favorite makes a move for the maglia rosa. 

 

Alternatively, one of the GC riders who has already lost time could use stage nine as an opportunity to get themselves back in the game. 

 

The finishing climb of the Campo Felice concludes with a section of gravel. This could present an opportunity for the GC men to test themselves on the surface ahead of Wednesday’s vital stage 11.

 

Whichever way it goes, we should see some more exciting action on a profile with hardly any flat roads.

 

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