Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Preview

An intriguing stage, a day borrowed from Tirreno-Adriatico. This stage doesn’t look tough as the y-axis of vertical gain doesn’t look fierce but it’s harder than it seems in the finish. After yesterday’s huddled finish we’ll see if the big names attack but they’ll have tomorrow’s time time on their minds.

Big rock, no roll: hindsight’s a luxury but that’s sort of the point of reviewing the previous day’s stage here. Only for a blogger there’s little to look back at, yesterday’s stage felt like one to quickly forget. Any hindsight probably belongs to many a rider who spent yesterday evening wistfully picking at their pasta while kicking themselves for not going in the day’s breakaway, especially as a quartet just floated away at the start. After Henok Mulubrhan was dropped, it was down to a trio of Davide Bais, Simone Petilli and Karel Vacek away for the day with Bais winning the summit finish sprint. Otherwise there was little sport, the main GC riders huddled in the headwind and Andreas Leknessund stays in pink, the only small clue was Remco Evenepoel sprinting to lead the bunch across the line ahead of Primož Roglič, the Belgian can’t be too sore.

The Route: 207km and 2,500m of vertical gain. It’s uphill from the start via the Valico della Somma, a big wide main road but still with 2km at 6% in the middle and then it’s a steady ride on the Via Flaminia, the old Roman road, to Fossombrone via the scenic Gola del Furlo gorge.

Once in Fossombrone comes the first climb of the day, I Cappucini, the road flicks out of town and suddenly gets very narrow, positioning is crucial here but plenty of riders should know the roads, it was part of Stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico in 2019. The profile says 19% but that’s if you chose to go take the inside line on a hairpin bend. Then comes a narrow descent back down to town.

It’s out of Fossombrone on another climb, this one is a little wider but tricky again and longer, it’s much more for the climbers rather than someone hoping to punch over a short wall.

The Finish: up the I Cappucini climb and back down to the finish on the same roads as used before. Passing once before helps but it’s hardly time to memorise the course, especially this twisting route with seven hairpins on the way down. Once in town there’s a left hand bend on to the 700m finishing straight which has a slight rise.

The Contenders: among the big names there’s Primož Roglič for his jump, Remco Evenepoel for the raw power and Tao Geoghegan Hart for his sprint, it’s hard to pick between them but this might be telling, the first two seem ok after crashes.

The breakaway’s got a good chance, especially with the time trial tomorrow meaning the GC riders will want to save energy today… if possible. Brandon McNulty is well done on GC, can UAE let him race today? Samuele Battistella (Astana) was last seen chomping on some arrosticini during yesterday’s stage but is he hungry for the stage? Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is a perpetual breakaway pick. Ben Healy (EF Education) should like the climbs but he’ll want go to solo over them. Simon Clarke (Israel) can try again and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché) is a crafty rider with a decent finish.

McNulty, Mollema
Healy, Battistella, Clarke, Roglič, Evenepoel, TGH, Rota

Weather: sunshine at first but it’s likely to rain during the stage, 16°C.

TV: KM0 is at midday and the first time up I Cappucini is around 3.30pm. The finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.

34 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Preview”

    • I think a few things conspired against the organisers yesterday. A few days of bad weather and a lot of crashes probably meant most folk didn’t want to go too deep, plus there was the raging headwind at the finish. On top of that a lot of riders will be scared of getting Remco’d tomorrow. Having said that, and with recent Etna stages in mind, I’d probably be inclined to keep the mountain epics to week 3 and restrict things to mid mountain stages this early.

      • Agree about the wind, 2016’s stage on Etna was similar. The highlight of the day was IMHO “Samuele Battistella (Astana) was last seen chomping on some arrosticini during yesterday’s stage…” A scene from days gone-by for sure.
        “Stars and Watercarriers” via Youtube tonight…we watched “Greatest Show on Earth” before we flew to Napoli a few days ago 🙂

      • The wind blowing strongly is out of the organisers’ control obviously but I do wonder why, having enticed Evenepoel to ride the Giro by including plenty of TT kms, they then chose to put yesterday’s stage immediately before one of those TTs when most GC riders will be doing everything they can to limit their losses to him and Remco himself knowing he wants an easy day ahead of trying to blow them away.

    • I’m not sure yesterday was about length tbh more headwind following hard days combined to nullify. There have been average short stages in the Tour recently so it’s not a fix all.

      But – you’re preaching to the converted here. Following a Spring that really highlighted all time great races vs multiple forgettable (which felt inevitably forgettable rather than unfortunately forgettable), it has been interesting to see Italian TV highlight boring stages and Venghi fire back that these are not junior races.

      I love the Giro and feel like it’s given us some of the best Grand Tours in the past decade but even as a passionate fan I still always think ‘the Giro is only worth watching in the second and third weeks’ as their first week is regularly sleep inducing (I watch anyway obviously… guess I’m a sucker for punishment!).

      There are many arguments to say this is necessary for the epic second and third weeks to work but many reasonable arguments also that might steer the Tour to a more consistently entertaining spectacle. It’s just a question of which take it too far away from its heart and traditional fans and which give it a brighter future than the dwindling Italian audiences currently suggest (even if an aging population highlights this).

      My personal feeling is tinkering with the individual Tours and races will not help, even if that’s all that’s likely, as the changes will rile many and won’t deliver significant differences, so those arguing for status quo will then be emboldened. In the current format a stalemate is all we can expect with a few shortened stages and a golden age of cyclist temporarily upping the spectacle themselves. It would need a bigger structural shift for the Giro and all of cycling to evolve which will never happen so it’s likely pointless to complain about boring stages.

      • “…give it a brighter future than the dwindling Italian audiences currently suggest (even if an aging population highlights this).” is based on what?
        A whole lot of folks have ditched RAI for Eurosport, including plenty of old-farts like me. Dunno how that is measured but I don’t doubt RAI’s numbers are down as a result.
        Meanwhile, after being at the start and finish of Stage 5 and seeing the peloton race along the Amalfi Coast…anyone who says there’s nobody out there on the road watching simply hasn’t been out there.

      • A lot of excessive generalisation which, as a consequence, ends up bordering nonsense. 2021 had an exciting first half, without going much further. Last year was peculiar, in the first week, given that there was a true show… during the first 90 minutes of each stage, rather than in the finales (obvious exceptions are easy to recall), but what’s curious is that general audience went down mainly because of the second half (terribly designed route). This year TV audience is growing nicely as expected day by day (until yesterday), we need to wait for the full picture of course, but frankly fine for now. So… what are we speaking about? Parallel universe?

    • A few seemingly boring long stages to soften up the field and then a short explosive one has often proved to be a good combination.

  1. In a distortion of the usual expression, yesterday we got one race for the price of two. Such is pro cycling, I suppose.

    Still quite enjoyed the stunning helicopter shots of the Apennines and the sight of an unheralded breakaway going long and actually succeeding. And let it be said that Eolo-Kometa riders sure do have a knack for playing a blinder on iconic Giro climbs – first Lorenzo Fortunato on the Zoncolan in 2021, and now Davide Bais atop the Gran Sasso. Check out Contador’s reactions to both wins if you ever need proof that cycling can inspire some pretty intense emotions.

    • Commentators saying nothing happened yesterday is pretty harsh. Enough happened. Just not on the GC front. It was great to see three unheralded riders going for a stage to probably crown their careers. And the scenery was stunning too.

      • The peloton’s attitude can be criticised from many POVs, but I’ll agree with you that I feel that it’s great for cycling that sometimes, only sometimes, even the most unexpected can have their well-earned chance on the top. It’s what makes the sport so special, because it doesn’t happen necessarily out of random accidents, crashes, or freak sequences of factors, just the composite nature of collective behaviours which are combined to form the actions and reactions of the strange beast which the peloton is. And the stark contrast with the day before from an emotional POV adds up to the general result.

  2. Yesterday must have made single-handedly EOLO’s season while mid-ranking WT teams with a stage win (Trek, Alpecin, Jayco andd AG2R) will feel their Giro already satisfactory – maybe DSM with several days in pink too. The others will be starting to worry.

      • Which mid-ranking WT teams – other than the four mentioned above – can reasonably look forward to a stage win? Or towards several days in pink?
        It´s always a little risky to boldly state that a stage victory will go to a GC favorite or a to one of the top sprinters, but there aren´t too many stages left that breakaway or late attack artists from mid-ranking teams have marked in their calendars.

        • We have to wait and see…that’s why they have the race instead of a bunch of speculation, not to mention 20/20 backwards vision from a lot of the keyboard DS’ out there.

  3. No offence to Eolo-Kometa (who have some good riders) and Corratec et al but I’d like to see some proper big hitting breakaway riders get away today in a big group. Maybe with some team mates thrown in. I’m thinking Mollema, Cort, Bettiol, Moscon, Jungels, Kung.. probably not though.

  4. Any riders who’ll not be contenders tomorrow, should go up the road today. A good breakaway should win as QS, Jumbo, UAE & Ineos will be thinking of the TT.
    Too hard for Matthews? Dombrowski or Sanchez from Astana?

  5. A short steep climb before the finish sounds like a good place for Evenepoel to have a go and assert a bit more authority on the race, or is it not selective enough?

    • For Evenepoel he almost doesn’t want to assert authority as he’ll have a bigger target on his back. His ideal scenario would surely be for the GC riders to sit tight and then he’ll give them a pasting in tomorrow’s stage, increasing his lead over them.

      … for his rivals though today could be something to exploit, an attack could be the place to put Evenepoel and his team under pressure. When Tirreno has visited these roads it’s been lively here, a GC day although tomorrow’s TT stage looms.

      • I’m not sure they will though for fear of going too deep and suffering tomorrow – a small-ish gain today for a potentially bigger loss tomorrow?

  6. Possibly a good day for DSM and Leknessund to go for it. His time trialling is not a threat and I think the course is slightly downhill overall.

  7. Definitely time for an attack like in last year’s TdF of all the Belgians during yesterday’s stage, anything, to puncture the tension among those who are supposed to win this Giro. They’re in a standoff and headwinds did not favour any attack out the bottled-up bunch.
    Leknessund must be loving each day like this, when he doesn’t get pressured and keeps his reserves untouched. He can wait, too.

  8. Ganna out with Covid, does that mean Puccio will be towing Mr. G back into the race each time he drops his chain now? UCI’s upset with Soudal for ‘coptering the World Champ off the mountain yesterday…will they penalize him or just wrist-slap the team with a fine? Seems kind of like the motorhome idea with Porte awhile back…dumb, tone-deaf and unsporting but not worth penalizing the rider over…unless they keep it up.

    • Apparently Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain Victorious also had helicopters, while everyone else had to make do with the cable car interspersed with the general public. Doesn’t seem particularly well-organised and will do nothing for Covid risk.

  9. Can Larry T please take a break.

    I applaud you for having the self-confidence to think that your thoughts are worth other people’s time, but your monopolisation of the comments are making this website a much less fun place to visit.

    I’m close to stopping visiting Inrng purely because you’re sucking the joy out of it.

    • Sure LarryT has strong and very often(in my opinion) wrong opnions, but, he is not really mean or rude, and he always announces himself with a name and avatar, so you can easily skip his writings.

    • I always read Larry’s comments, he has some strong opinions (which I don’t always agree with) but for me he’s in important part of the community that keeps me coming back. There are other commentators that I regularly skip over, and if you don’t like Larry’s comments just skip past to the next.

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