Giro d’Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates

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A breakaway - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGES

A breakaway – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

02:29 PM

21.5km to go

Nikias Arndt attacks, but is closed down quickly.

02:23 PM

25km to go

Fernando Gaviria has managed to get back on, tagging into the back of the breakaway with his tattered rain jacket flapping in the wind.

02:19 PM

30km to go

On the same corner as Fernando Gaviria crashed, Antione Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) almost came a cropper. Minutes later he overcooked another corner as if auditioning to become an Ilnur Zakarin cycling double (the Russian is a notoriously poor descender).

Gaviria, meanwhile, is being helped along by the medical car as one of the doctors attends to his wounds – while also assisting the sprinter up a small climb. The race commissaires may have something to say about that later on this afternoon, one suspects the UCI coffers may be getting a few Swiss francs from the Colombian.

02:14 PM

Crash! Gaviria down . . .

Fernando Gaviria just hit the deck after misjudging a bend to the right. For some reason the sprinter clipped off the front of the break and once up the road lost control and skidded into a concrete wall that will have hurt, but may have saved him going over the edge.

The UAE Team Emirates rider remounted, but has lost over 30 seconds on the remaining eight breakaway riders.

FGFG

FG

02:08 PM

40km to go

The breakaway is descending pretty fast and, thankfully, the forecast of rain has not come to fruition. There are, however, dark pillowy clouds overhead, poised and threatening to empty themselves on the dry road ahead of the peloton’s arrival just shy of six minutes back.

02:01 PM

47km to go

Over the top of the Bocca della Selva go the breakaway, some riders opting for gilets, others stuff copies of La Gazzetta dello Sport down the front of their jerseys. The peloton continues climbing.

01:56 PM

Evenepoel admits he may be feeling ‘tired’

Speaking with Eurosport ahead of today’s stage, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) said he was looking forward to Tuesday’s rest day. The young Belgian, as you probably know, is riding his first grand tour and has not raced since a career-threatening crash at last year’s Il Lombardia. The 21-year-old is front page news back home in Belgium where the cycling-mad public and media are convinced that their man is going to win this year’s Giro d’Italia.

After making waves in the junior ranks in 2018, Evenepoel announced himself to the world in Innsbruck where he blew away the under-18 fields in both the world championship time trial and road races. The Belgian media wasted little time in comparing him to the greatest of all time. Evenepoel, however, was having none of it.

“Being the new Eddy Merckx is not something I want to hear,” he told reporters after winning his second rainbow jersey in Austria.

“I want to be somebody new. I’m the new me”.

01:46 PM

Rain on the horizon?

A few riders were just spotted picking up rain jackets from their team cars, the suggestion being that there may be rain on the other side of this climb. Following the drenchings they have had to deal with earlier in the race, one suspects nobody will welcome another downpour – if, indeed, one is in the post.

01:43 PM

55km to go

A few conversations happening in the breakaway. Anyone’s guess what is being said, but perhaps Victor Campenaerts is asking the strong looking Italian Giovanni Carboni to knock it off a click or two given they have a decent lead over the peloton – that’s what Adam Blythe, speaking on Europsort, reckons anyway.

01:35 PM

58km to go

Dan Martin (Israel Start-up Nation) has had a mechanical issue, that coming a few minutes after the Kiwi George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) was also held up after appearing to ship his chain. Gropama-FDJ continue pulling on the front of the peloton, the team of the maglia rosa trailing the stage leaders by 7min 25sec. .

Groupama-FDJ - GETTY IMAGESGroupama-FDJ - GETTY IMAGES

Groupama-FDJ – GETTY IMAGES

01:27 PM

62km to go

Both the breakaway and the peloton are onto the Bocca della Selva and it looks like a relatively easy climb – fairly shallow gradient that can easily be ridden in the big ring – but one imagines some riders will be hoping to test their rivals on this long slope.

Bocca della SelvaBocca della Selva

Bocca della Selva

It is one thing riding a climb like this, but can be another racing it if you are having a bad day. A typically mixed surface that weaves up through small villages with plenty of trees lining the road.

01:20 PM

Fact or fiction?

01:17 PM

65km to go

Here’s a quite wonderful picture of Japanese rider Fumiyuki Beppu who isn’t riding at this year’s Giro d’Italia – although he completed four edition of the race between 2011 and 2015 – but presumably is following the progress of his EF Education-Nippo team-mates.

The breakaway, by the way, has increased its lead to 7min 19sec.

01:05 PM

75km to go

The riders in the breakaway are working well together, riding through and off with each man doing his turn, as they approach the category two Bocca della Selva. Their lead over the peloton has increased now to 6min 50sec. The peloton looks fairly relaxed with riders taking the opportunity of a quiet period in the stage to chat with team-mates, and catch up with their pals from rival squads.

12:52 PM

Gaviria wins intermediate sprint

Fernando Gaviria, once again, went for a long one but unlike yesterday when the Colombian sprinter was overhauled by Caleb Ewan et al, he beat the rest of the breakaway riders with relative ease to add 12 points to his account in the, er, points classification.

12:50 PM

85km to go

Victor Campenaerts appears to have not quite caught his breath back following that earlier effort of his at chasing down the breakaway. He will need to regain his composure pretty soon as the first categorised climb of the day, the Bocca della Selva, is around 15km away.

12:39 PM

90km to go

The nine-man breakaway has gained a decent sized advantage on the peloton now, holding at around the five-minute mark. Race leader Attila Valter has his Groupama-FDJ team-mates riding on the front as the French squad work to protect the magila rosa on the shoulders of the young Hungarian, followed closely by Ineos Grenadiers.

Attila Valter - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGESAttila Valter - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGES

Attila Valter – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

12:36 PM

Ewan update… of sorts

Various reports ad claimed Caleb Ewan abandoned the race after crashing in a tunnel, however RAI, tho host broadcaster in Italy, are saying the Lotto-Soudal sprinter had already been dropped.

Caleb Ewan - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGESCaleb Ewan - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGES

Caleb Ewan – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

Today, by the way, was the first day Ewan had worn the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, as leader in the points classification at the Giro which also happened to fall on the 39th anniversary of the first Australian to win a stage at the race – Michael Wilson in Cortona on May 15, 1982. One of Ewan’s key goals this season is winning a stage in all three grand tours in the same season, and so one suspects he will be heading home to Monaco today or tomorrow before his preparations for the Tour de France start in earnest.

12:17 PM

Fake news!

The organisers appear to have got their sums wrong and the gap the breakaway has in 1min 20sec, not 32sec as previously reported.

12:16 PM

And then there were nine . . .

Your man Victor Campenaerts has bridged over to the breakaway which leads the peloton by just 32sec. The Belgian is taking a little breather on the back of the small group, tucked in behind Nikias Arndt (DSM), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Kobe Goossens (Lotto-Soudal), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-Citroën), Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar).

BreakawayBreakaway

Breakaway

12:07 PM

Hello breakaway, we have been expecting you . . .

It appears to comprise eight riders and Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) is in there, while Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) is trapped in no man’s land, the world hour record holder off in pursuit of the late breakaway.

12:00 PM

As it stands . . .

Well, it has been a frenetic start to the day once the 177-man peloton rolled through KM0 at 11.53am (BST). It was fairly cloudy near the start, though at 21°C a decent temperature. The opening 20-25 kilometres were raced on fairly exposed roads and so the threat of splits in the crosswinds created a nervous environment, particularly for those with general classification ambitions.

An early breakaway went up the road, but once the riders realised Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) was riding alongside them a few choice words and dramatic gesticulations were tossed in the direction of the Colombian who is third in the standings. Shortly thereafter, Bernal’s team-mate Filippo Ganna got on the front causing panic further back before it all calmed down a little.

However, not sooner had things calmed down than it all started again. Numerous attacks followed, wave after wave. Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) and Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech) appeared to have escaped from the clutches of the peloton, but the pair were soon reined back in. Next to give it a go was stage winner Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) but again, he was unable to create a serious advantage.

Giro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGESGiro d'Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates - GETTY IMAGES

Giro d’Italia 2021, stage eight – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

Having completed 50km of the stage, the peloton is all together, albeit fairly stretched out as riders continue to chaip away at the head of the bunch. One rider that has managed a lone breakaway, however, is Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) who has abandoned the race.

10:10 AM

Highlights from Friday’s stage: Ewan strikes again

Before today’s action starts – remember today’s live coverage from Telegraph Sport gets under way at 1pm – here’s a brief reminder of what happened yesterday on the long road to Termoli . . .

10:05 AM

Possible stage winners?

The stage appears perfectly suited to a breakaway, particularly given that the final climb is not especially long and the fact tomorrow appears to be a day more suited to the general classification contenders. Despite there being 3,400 metres of vertical elevation, much of the climbing is not too steep and so will suit those big powerful riders, as opposed to the more natural climber types.

Luis León Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech) normally gives on stages like this so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spaniard attempted to get in the breakaway. Likewise, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) may have a go, though it remains to be seen if he has recovered from his exertions during Thursday’s stage when the Dutchman put in a huge shift. Another rider that is looking good is Italian Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo). In all honesty, I could probably list 10 or 20 possible – Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-Citroën), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) and so forth.

09:50 AM

Today’s menu . . .

Today’s stage is due to get under way at 11.50am (BST), while our live coverage kicks off at 1pm by which point we suspect the peloton – and in all likelihood a decent sized breakaway – will have reached the first unclassifield climb of the day, the Passo del Lupo.

Here’s what the official website says about the day ahead: “This stage across the Apennines features one single lengthy climb, and a steep, challenging kick just before the finish. At first, the route runs along fast and mainly straight roads all the way to Campobasso.

Stage eight profileStage eight profile

Stage eight profile

“The riders then reach the Matese Mountains to negotiate the Bocca della Selva climb (over 20 km), followed by a lengthy descent that ends 10 km before the finish. The route then rises all the way to the finish, with a sharp kick before homing in.

Bocca della SelvaBocca della Selva

Bocca della Selva

“The closing climb is approx 3 km long. The gradient hovers around 10% for the first 2km, with sharper peaks. The pitch returns to milder gradients in Guardia Sanframondi, and then kicks up again with 400 m to go, after a left-hander. The home straight is on tarmac road and on a slight incline.”

Guardia SanframondiGuardia Sanframondi

Guardia Sanframondi

09:30 AM

Ciao!

Hello and welcome to our live blog from stage six at the Giro d’Italia, the 170-kilometre run from Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi.

Following yesterday’s stage which was won very impressively by Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), other than the Aussie taking hold of the points jersey there were not major changes in the jersey classifications. Here’s what the top threes currently look like . . .

Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), the 22-year-old Hungarian, holds top spot in both the general and youth classification and will for a second successive day be dressed in the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey.

As mentioned, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took hold of the points competition after winning his second stage at this year’s Giro d’Italia and today will wear the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey.

With just one small climb in yesterday’s stage – where the three-man breakaway took the points – Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) kept hold of top spot and so goes into Saturday’s mountainous stage wearing his second maglia azzurra, the blue jersey.

The top three in the youth classification mirrors that of the overall and so Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will wear the maglia bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of Valter.