The outcome was everything but certain on stage eight of the Giro, designed all around Naples. Some sprinters and somepunchers could have had their chance, but eventually, the breakaway made it to the end after a short but intense day on Campania’s roads. After 153 kilometres, Thomas De Gendt took the victory while Arnaud Démare kept his cyclamen jersey on the eve of the big mountain stage towards the Blockhaus, which precedes the second rest day. 

Nine years after last visiting one of the most emblematic cities of the country, the Giro d’Italia got back to Napoli onSaturday. Start and finish were located there, and just 153 kilometres made up this eighth stage, neither flat nor veryhilly. The door was open for the attackers, which led to a crazy start. “Today was really special, especially with four laps of a twenty-kilometre circuit, really technical, going up and down”said Sébastien Joly. For some riders in the bunch, it may even have been difficult to get into “championship” mode during a Grand Tour. From this point of view, it was a bit unusual. The day’s breakaway, featuringtwenty-one riders, still went in the first ten kilometres, an hour before entering the circuit. In the lead, Mathieu van der Poel, Thomas De Gendt, Biniam Girmay, Diego Ulissi, Guillaume Martin & others were kept under two minutes for a long time, but the bunch eventually eased off a little with fifty kilometresto go, when the real fight for the stage victory occurred in the front. Following a great battle, Thomas De Gendt secured victory after 3h32 of intense racing.

You also need to manage your energy”, Arnaud Démare

Attila Valter crossed the line with the main peloton three minutes later while his teammates finished a little further back. “We are coming to the end of the first week, and there has been some fight so far”, said Arnaud Démare after having once again put on the cyclamen jersey. We understood from the start that it would be difficult today because many riders wanted to join the break. It was a beautiful course, but we also knew that it was a bit difficult. I held on a bit, but you also need to know how to manage your energy on a Grand Tour”“We thought we could give ourselves a chance depending on how the race unfolded, and that’s why we hung on for quite a long time,” added Sébastien. Then, when we noticed that the breakaway was going to fight for victory, and that no team was interested in pulling, a large part of our riders sat up to recover. Others held on a bit longer, but only Attila finished with the first group. Today, the goal was either to arrive for the win, or to recover for tomorrow. The mountain is looming, and it will be a hard day with this finishat the Blockhaus”. On Sunday, Arnaud Démare will go through the 5000 meters of elevation gain with the cyclamen jersey on his shoulders, but his gap was reduced to justtwenty-seven points over the Eritrean Biniam Girmay this Saturday. “He’s going to be a great challenger”, added the Frenchman in conclusion.