Another aggressive day of racing on stage eight of Giro d'ItaliaSat 16 May 2015
ORICA-GreenEDGE kept a low profile on yet another aggressive day of racing on stage eight of the Giro d’Italia this afternoon.
As the general classification contenders flexed their muscles on the final category one climb to the finish, Team Movistar’s Benat Intxausti survived from a break to claim the solo victory.
Colombian climber Esteban Chaves was ORICA-GreenEDGE’s top finisher in 38th position having lost contact with the group of main contenders with five kilometres to go.
“It was an incredible stage today,” sport director Matt White said. “Half the bunch was detached after yet another of the most aggressive starts we have seen of the Tour.”
“I can’t get over how everyday is being raced like a one-day race, it’s going to catch up with a lot of people.
“I didn’t expect such an aggressive start today and the breakaway has done very well to hang on and the smarter teams showed their cards today.
“We are going now into a transitional stage of the Tour. We have an undulating stage and a rest day and then we are transiting to a different part of Italy. A lot can change in the next week, especially considering the way this first week has been raced.”
How it unfolded
As teams tried to shape the day’s breakaway in early racing, the peloton split into two groups under the intensity.
Whilst some recovered to return to the front group, the day of those riders left behind was done.
Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) led over the first climb of the day and was shortly joined by two more riders at the head of proceedings, with an additional chase group of nine in pursuit.
Behind, the front peloton stepped up the pace and began to quickly eat into the nine-minute deficit they had.
At the start of the final climb, Kruijswijk, Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) and Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing) had a one and a half minute lead over the chase group and five minutes over the peloton.
Intxausti reached the leaders with five kilometres to go and attacked on the steep 12% section of the ascent, not to be seen again.
Meanwhile, a few minutes later on the same section of road, Astana put the pressure on and again the general classification contenders battled it out, eventually finishing just 35seconds behind the stage winner.
Amongst that elite group Alberto Contador (TInkoff – Saxo) who retained the race lead.