Arezzo - An audacious solo attack on the tough white chalk roads of the Giro
d'Italia eighth stage saw Italian Gianluca Brambilla rewarded with a
prestigious win and the race leader's pink jersey on Saturday.
Etixx team rider Brambilla had been in an earlier escape of 13 riders on the tough, 186km ride from Foligno to Arezzo.
having earmarked the stage, the Italian seized his chance by pulling
away from the group of frontrunners on a section of white chalk road,
with 25km remaining.
With the main peloton including overnight
leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant) and all the race favourites over three
minutes in arrears, it proved a judicious move.
forged on for the finish line virtually unhindered, Dumoulin was left
tumbling down the overall standings after race favourites Vincenzo
Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and several other rivals left the Dutchman in
"I can't believe what I've done. I can't believe I
have the pink jersey," said Brambilla, who was quick to thank teammate
Matteo Trentin for increasing the pace at the front of the leading group
and allowing him to keep his powder dry.
"I was the rider who
initiated the breakaway but he did most of the work until I rode away in
the steep part of the climb. I'm delighted.
"Everything is going
well for me this year. The birth of my daughter Asia twenty days ago has
also changed my life. It's beautiful. I had targeted this stage at the
beginning of the Giro, and I did it."
Matteo Montaguti of the AG2R
team was second over the finish line at 1min 06secs with fellow Italian
Moreno Moser (Cannondale) in third at 1:27 at the head of a three-man
Brambilla now leads the race with a 23sec cushion on
Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), although the overall standings are
expected to be shaken up again on Sunday after a time trial in the
Chianti wine-producing region.
Spanish veteran Valverde, who
crossed at 1:41 behind Brambilla, moved up to fourth overall to sits
36secs off the pink jersey on his maiden participation.
the 2013 champion, is in fifth overall at 45, with Esteban Chaves (48),
Rigoberto Uran (49) and Mikel Landa (54) all in close vicinity. Dumoulin
crossed the finish at 2:51 behind Brambilla to drop out of the race's
With two weeks remaining on the 99th edition of the race, Dumoulin should still has plenty of racing in his legs.
Dutchman, who won the opening stage time trial to take the pink jersey
for the first time in the race, is a big favourite for Sunday's 40.5km
race against the clock between Radda in Chianti and Greve in Chianti.
admitted: "We did a great job today, we managed to make a big gap. We
gave everything on the climb and I think that the team did a fantastic
"Dumoulin and (Jakob) Fuglsang got dropped but this Giro
d'Italia is long. We tried to get as much time as possible on Dumoulin
because of the time trial tomorrow."
Results and standings after Saturday's 186km eighth stage from Foligno to Arezzo:
1. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/ETI) 4hr 14min 05sec, 2. Matteo Montaguti (ITA/ALM) at 1min 06sec, 3. Moreno Moser (ITA/CAN) 1:27, 4. Jacob Venter (RSA/DDT) 1:28, 5. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/BMC) 1:33, 6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:41, 7. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) same time, 8. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) s.t., 9. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) s.t., 10. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) s.t.
12. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 1:44, 38. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 2:51
1. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/ETI) 33hr 39min 14sec, 2. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 0:23, 3. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 0:33, 4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:36, 5. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 0:45, 6. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 0:48, 7. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:49, 8. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 0:54, 9. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) s.t., 10. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:03