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Stannard into the points jersey after stage eight of the Giro d’Italia U23

Fri 15 Jun 2018

After a string of strong rides throughout the week Australian Rob Stannardfinally got some reward for his efforts on stage eight of the Giro d’Italia U23, taking the lead of the points classification with one more day of racing to come and finishing fifth on the stage.

The eighth stage was arguably the hardest of the lot with a mid-stage ascent of the fearsome Monte Grappa coming before a first category up towards the finish in Asiago.

Splitting early, the field separated into different groups along the road with Mitchelton-BikeExchange sitting tight in the Maglia Rosa group with Stannard and Sam Jenner present alongside Brayan Chaves and Drew Morey.

The initial breakaway group was brought back after the ascent up Monte Grappa, but that only preceded frees attacks as the Colombian national team, lively throughout the race initiated another decisive attack when they sent two riders up the road.

Following that move, Stannard jumped out of the favourites group as the race went over the final climb and the deficit to the leaders falling with the Australian pushing on alongside Sean Bennett (Hagens-Berman-Axeon).

Despite his efforts Stannard could not bridge to the three leaders and it was Colombian Cristian Munoz who took the stage win with Stannard holding on for another top five finish.

The Maglia Rosa changed hands yet again with Alejandro Osorio (Colombia) moving back into the race lead by eight seconds and Stannard moving into the lead of the points classification ahead of tomorrow’s final double stage.

Sport director James Victor:

“There were a few splits happening throughout the stage today and especially on the final climb where the overall contenders were trying to shake things up and we witnessed another change in the leader’s jersey and there are a few riders within seconds of each other up at the top.”

“We had four guys up in the Maglia Rosa group until the last 30kilometres and then Rob went up the road with Bennett and started chase down the leaders. We’ve been saying for the last few days that recovery has been important, and our guys have been coping well with a super hard week of racing.

“Rob is still feeling strong and tomorrow’s double header – with a short but punchy road stage in the morning followed by a hilly time trial in the afternoon will no doubt decide the race.

“The TT course suits Rob’s characteristics very nicely and we have done extensive reconnaissance of both that and the road stage and there’s a good opportunity for him to move up even further and hold on to the points jersey. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Giro d’Italia U23 stage eight results:

1. Cristian Munoz (Colombia) 04:16:08

2. Einer Rubio (Colombia) ST

3. Aleksander Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) ST

5. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +1:20

General classification after stage eight:

1. Alejandro Osorio (Colombia) 27:46:04

2. Aleksander Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) +0:08

3. Mark Donovan (Team-Wiggins) +0:23

7. Rob Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) +2:13

Photos courtesy of Twila Federica Muzzi.

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