De Gendt forgets Lotto’s uneven Giro start

Belgium wins stage 8 in Naples

Thomas De Gendt secured Lotto Soudal’s first victory of the day at the 105th Giro d’Italia. | Photo: Cor Vos CHECK

14/05/2022 | (rsn) – Ten years after his victory at the legendary Stelvio, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) has won a stage of the Giro d’Italia for the second time. The 35-year-old Belgian beat Italian Davide Gabburo (Bardiani – CSF – Faizane) and Spaniard Jorge Arcas (Movistar) in the sprint of a four-man driver group in Naples after 153 kilometers of the 8th stage. Fourth went to his countryman and teammate Harm Vanhoucke, who rejoiced at De Gendt’s coup as if he had won himself.

Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert), Swiss Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix) finished fourth to seventh, 15 seconds behind the winner. Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek – Segafredo) eventually won the pink jersey again.

It almost seemed as if Lotto Soudal had copied a few things from yesterday’s performance of Jumbo – Visma. Like the Dutch on the 7th stage, the Belgians were this time well represented in the original 21-man main group: along with De Gendt and Vanhoucke, Sylvain Moniquet was a third lottery pro. And just like Jumbo the day before, Lotto entered the decisive group with two drivers. Again, a smart team performance decided the race.

“We did a fantastic job as a team,” De Gendt said after securing his team’s first win in the Giro. “I explained to Harm that he should drive the last three kilometers from the front and that I will win the sprint. Up to three hundred meters from the finish he was right in front and therefore I owe him a lot “, the winner praised his young teammate.

Van der Poel’s early attack expired

This ended Lotto’s previous black Giro series after sprinter Caleb Ewan missed the stage victory he had been aiming for for various reasons. “It was not a good start on the Giro, but this success is doing very well. Being in front with three and then completing it is great, ”Vanhoucke said in an interview.

In contrast, the top favorite van der Poel was on his own. Nevertheless, the Dutchman attacked with 46 kilometers to go – and perhaps ruined his chances of winning because he could not break out of the group. Van der Poel was supervised by his opponents and had to do most of the work himself. In Girmay, he had a shadow that almost never left the rear wheel of the opening winner. “Everyone was looking at Mathieu and me so we could not handle the race as we might have imagined,” the Eritrean said after the race.

In terms of scoring, the day was worth it for the 22-year-old despite missing out on a stage victory. Girmay reduced the gap to leader Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) from 53 to 27 points. In the battle for the mountain jersey, everything remained the same. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo – Visma) is 25 points ahead of Lennard Källa (Bora – hansgrohe), who had unsuccessfully attacked from the field on the last climb.

But Lopez parried the German’s attack and maintained his lead of 38 seconds over Kämmen in the overall standings. Today’s ninth, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), who at times almost came close to Maglia Rosa, advanced to fourth place. Lopez also maintained his lead in the youth position while his team was knocked out of the top of the team position by Intermarché.

This is how the race went:

After four riders, including Mark Cavendish’s starter Michael Morkov (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), dropped out of yesterday’s stage and Britain’s Simon Carr (EF Education – EasyPost) did not start in Naples at noon, 167 riders attacked the eighth division .

In bright sunshine, van der Poel did not need to be asked twice. With his attack after seven kilometers, the winner of the Giro started a 21-man main group, which in addition to van der Poel and the eight-time Giro stage winner Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), also Girmay, Jasha Sütterlin from Freiburg (Bahrain Victorious) and Schmid from Switzerland belonged to. In terms of quantity, Lotto Soudal was the strongest faction with three of them in the top group with veterans De Gendt, Vanhoucke and Moniquet.

The best placed escapee in the overall standings was Martin, who was a real threat to Maglia Rosa with a deficit of just 4:06 minutes behind Lopez, especially as the large group quickly gained a lead of around 2:30 minutes.

So Trek – Segafredo took over the tracking work in the field to keep the distance as small as possible. On the approach to the circuit, Girmay, number two in the points class, got the first of the day’s two intermediate sprints after 46 kilometers in Lago Patria and reduced his gap to Démare, who ran in the field with all his helpers, in the battle for Maglia Ciclamino, with twelve counters.

The outliers keep their stand

When the circuit was tackled at high speed after about 50 kilometers, the lead of the group, from which Sütterlin soon fell back in the field, was a little more than two minutes and remained stable after that, although with Bora are now also chasing each other – hansgrohe and Bahrain Victorious was further ahead. However, most of the tempo work was still mostly on the shoulders of Lopez ‘teammates. Still, the lead increased to more than three minutes with 60 kilometers to go.

About 14 kilometers later, van der Poel blew up the large group on one of the climbs with a definite start, but without being able to withdraw permanently. Gabburo rather struck shortly afterwards, followed by the Lotto duo De Gendt, Vanhoucke, Arcas and Simone Ravanelli (Drone Hopper), while van der Poel, Girmay & Co. looked at each other and gave the quintet a lead of about 30 seconds. Vanhoucke got the second and final intermediate sprint ahead of De Gendt, on Monte di Procida (4th cat.), The only mountain classification of the day, the order was exactly the opposite.

De Gendt was the driving force behind the leading quartet, but van der Poel and Martin were only 15 seconds behind. The field was almost four minutes behind, so Martin grabbed the pink jersey.

De Gendt works and is still strongest in the sprint

In the following kilometers, the leading group, from which Ravanelli had meanwhile fallen, extended his lead to about 40 seconds, mainly thanks to the efforts of De Gendt. After Schmid increased the pace, the hunting group continued to shrink and in addition to the 22-year-old also consisted of van der Poel, Girmay, Martin and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious).

Trek – Segafredo did everything in the field to claim Maglia Rosa, while Kämna’s teammates placed second. On the last climb of the day, which had already opened the stage and was now tackled from the other side, the lead of the front runners dropped to 20 seconds in the last ten kilometers before Schmid increased the pace further, bringing the chase. group even more closely introduced to the quartet. At the same time, Kennan tried to get rid of Lopez on the climb, but the 24-year-old was alert and thwarted the Bora pro’s attack.

With the exception of Girmay, van der Poel then shook off his companions with a daring descent and seemed to come within reach of the first group with the Eritrean in tow. But on the last flat kilometers, the duo could no longer close the hole. In the final, Vanhoucke then pulled ahead of the quartet before De Gendt got his second Giro stage victory with a long sprint and let his entire team celebrate.

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