Brambilla wins stage 8 and takes the pink jersey in Giro d’Italia

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Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) claimed his first ever Grand Tour stage win with a solo attack to Arezzo. Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale) followed him home over a minute back with Moreno Moser (Cannondale) rounding out the podium.

In the break since the start of Giro d’Italia stage 8, together with teammate Matteo Trentin and 11 other riders, Gianluca Brambilla attacked on the final climb of Alpe di Poti and made the difference on the grueling ramps ranging from 8% to 13%. As he left everyone else behind, he also opened a 30-second gap on the chasers and crested the top of the ascent in the lead, pushing hard on the descent and making sure he’s keeping the advantage over Matteo Montaguti.

In Arezzo, which was hosting a stage finish for the first time in 13 years, not only that he took the biggest victory of his career, but also became the new leader of the general classification, two superb results for a rider who has always believed in his chances and potential.

While Brambilla fought alone, the GC riders tested each other on the final climb and it was Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who blew the race to pieces. With several accelerations, he created a select group of favourites from which Tom Dumoulin was the notable absentee. The Dutchman cracked on the steep roads and with a time loss of more than a minute, he slipped out of the top 10 of the overall standings. Second-placed Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) had bad luck to suffer a mechanical on the final climb, meaning that Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) is now in second behind Brambilla.

The time gains were enough for Brambilla to move into the race lead with a 23-second advantage over Zakarin, with Kruijswijk 10 seconds further adrift in third. However, he faces a big challenge on his first stage in maglia rosa as stage 9 is one of the most important of the entire race. The 40.5km Chianti time trial is a rolling affair that includes a lumpy first half, a long descent and a gradual climb and a descent in the second half. In general, it’s a stage more for versatile GC riders than big engines and the stage is set to open big time gaps in the overall standings.

Giro d’Italia 2016 – stage 8 results (Foligno – Arezzo):

1 Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step)

4:14:05

2 Matteo Montaguti (AG2R)

+01’06”

Moreno Moser (Cannondale)

+01’27”

4 Jaco Venter (Dimension Data)

+01’28”

5 Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)

+01’33”

6 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

+01’41”

7 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo)

,,

8 Mikel Landa Meana (Sky)

,,

9 Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

,,

10 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)

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General classification after stage 8:

1 Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step)

33:39:14

2 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)

+23”

3 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo)

+33”

4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

+36”

5 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

+45”

6 Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

+48”

7 Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale)

+49”

8 Rafal Majka (Tinkoff)

+54”

9 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R)

,,

10 Mikel Landa Meana (Sky)

+01’03”

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