Giro d’Italia, 8th stage in Naples: Thomas de Gendt wins after a final sprint in a breakaway group

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.

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“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.

Highlights Stage 8: Van der Poel’s vain hunt

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.

Kamme attacks in vain

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.

You may also be interested in: Giro Preview, Stage 9: Attack on Rosa on “Giant of the Appenines”
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