Today was all about 29-year-old Gorka Izaguirre who secured the biggest win of his career with an expertly timed dash to the line.
Molfetta - Peschici
Giro d'Italia - 13 May 2017
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 20:35 on 13 May 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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So, Bob Jungels finishes strongly to take tenth place and retain his six-second lead over Geraint Thomas in the battle for the maglia rosa.
Confirmation of the top ten.
Here's the moment Conti skidded out on that tight switchback on the final climb...
It wasn't Kruijswijk who led the pack home but his team-mate Enrico Battaglin.
That's a maiden Grand Tour stage win for Izaguirre - and a first for Movistar in this year's race.
Sanchez crosses the line just moments before Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo leads the main pack over, 12 seconds down on the winner...
Victory for Gorka Izaguirre of Movistar! Visconti leads the chase after Sanchez pops, but Izaguirre has enough to take the win.
Terrible for Italy as Visconti is distanced by the two Spaniards. Izaguirre looks stronger than Sanchez, and duly drops him...
Under the 1-to-go banner and it's the first big hairpin... and Conti crashes! He slips on the bend and hits the deck.
They're onto the final climb now with Conti on the front. But the gap is just 35 seconds so it's not in the pocket for this break yet...
Still FDJ leading the chase on the front of the pack - doing their best to deliver Pinot to a strong position at the start of the final climb.
Just four men out ahead now, with a lead of only 55 seconds. You know, they could still be caught on the uphill ramp to the line - there will be some tired legs out there...
Landa trails the leaders by 1:05 but he's about to be caught by the pack - and he is, just as FDJ and Thibalt Pinot comes to the front on the descent.
Sanchez and Conti are back from the dead as the leaders go over the top and start the technical descent down towards Peschici.
Izaguirre and Visconti have a small gap over Sanchez and Conti. Landa, meanwhile, looks like he will be caught - but that move did spice things up a little. He's the first GC rider to try something today - and it's the first time we've really seem him thoughout the race, except that moment when he punctured on Mount Etna.
It was a short descent to the foot of the final part of this climb - and Sanchez and Conti have been pegged back by Izaguirre and Visconti. Meanwhile, Landa has caught Muhlberger.
Meanwhile, there's an attack by Mikel Landa of Team Sky in the peloton - and that is going to ruffle some feathers. The Spaniard is only 10 seconds down on GC and he could ride into the pink if he keeps this up...
Over the top they go and now it's Sanchez who drives the pace on the descent.
Visconti has three riders - Conto, Sanchez and Izaguirre - in pursuit on the Coppa del Fornaro, but Muhlberger has been dropped. So too have many riders back in the peloton - including double stage winner Fernando Gaviria.
The five leaders come back together on the second phase of this short climb. They have one minute over the other chasers - and 1:50 over the pack. And now Visconti goes! The Italian from Bahrain-Merida has opened up a small gap...
Conti surges clear on the uncategorised climb ahead of the finish. He has Izagguire in pursuit, but the other three seem to be been distanced. Sanchez leads the chase behind with Visconti.
Puncture for Dries Devenyns of Quick-Step, which means Bob Jungels could be without one of his key men in the finale. Even so, the gap is down to two minutes. The winner should come from this leading break of five riders, but you never know...
Muhlberger, in the big ring, drives the leading group on - and it stretches out before Izaguirre closes the gap. The peloton is 2:15 down and so Conti's pink dream may not happen - but he can still win this stage...
Impressive to see Sanchez here - the Spanish veteran was in the initial group, rode clear on the first climb, was reeled back in, and is now out with the other four leaders once again. They have nine men chasing them down around 27 seconds in arrears, with the main pack at 2:50.
If it looks flat on the profile then that's not the case: this is a lumpy run in ahead of the uncategorised climb before the finish - and that before the final uphill slog to the line. There's still a lot of racing left in this fast and furious stage. The gap is 2:55.
Quick-Step, Sky, LottoNL-Jumbo and Sunweb all moving up near the front of the peloton. We're hitting the business end of this stage and the big GC favourites will have to keep out of trouble - and then avoid any splits on the ramped finish. The gap is three minutes for the five leaders...
Valerio Conti leads the break through the intermediate sprint to bag an extra three bonus seconds, which could be key today if things get tight at the finish.
Back wheel puncture for Jose Herrada of Movistar - one of Nairo Quintana's key domestiques. The pack is 2:47 down on the five-man leading group which includes the host nation's two hopes in Visconti and Conti, the pink jersey elect.
Izaguirre and Sanchez have joined Conti, Visconti and Muhlberger in this five-man leading group. The gap is back up to 2:27 and so Conti is in pink again, virtually.
Visconti has come to the front to up the tempo - and Conti takes up the slack and has a dig. He's just moved out of the virtual pink jersey so he's keen to spice things up a little. It's blown the break apart...
Puncture for Nicola Boem in the break, who stops for a quick wheel change. The gap is really tumbling - just two minutes now - so he'll have to get his wiggle on.
The peloton crests the summit of the climb 2:57 down on the leaders - so Quick-Step's efforts are paying off: the gap is coming down.
Luis Leon Sanchez crests the summit of this cat.4 climb to take the maximum 3 points. So, the Spaniard has pocketed 18 points today in the battle for the maglia azzurra, which puts him in joint third place in the KOM standings. Jan Polanc, the UAE Team Emirates rider who won on Mount Etna, still leads with 44 points.
Laura Meseguer, our roving reporter, has filmed today's finish from her car. Here's what it looks like... it's clearly going to be pretty tough: narrow, steep and sinuous, not to forget very scenic.
Quick-Step Floors have five riders - including Jungels - on the front as they try to defend the maglia rosa. Katusha are tucked in just behind as the gap comes down to 3:50 for the leaders. Valerio Conti is talking to his USE Team Emirates manager and getting the lowdown. He could turn things around for his nation today - but there's still a long way to go.
The leaders are onto the Cat.4 Coppa Santa Tecla climb and it seems to be fracturing a little. It may be because of Conti's presence - because a splinter group drops him and the rest, before the Italian closes the gap and brings it back together. Some of the escapees may be worried about the presence of Conti jeopardising their chances - because he's a threat to the pink jersey, he's become persona non grata it seems.
Back in the peloton and it looks like Pieter Serry has got a nosebleed. He's seeing the race doctor off the back - just as his Quick-Step Floors team-mates are starting to help Katusha in the chase on the front. They're doing so because the gap has grown to 4:48 and Jungels' maglia rosa is very much under threat.
It looks like Lukas Postlberger has had a tumble: the race's first stage winner and first maglia rosa is currently off the back of the break and sporting a bloody graze on his elbow. The Austtrian from Bora-Hansgrphe must have come off at some point...
The host nation are still without a win on this year's Giro - cause for concern in the Italian press. Interestingly, only 22% of the field are Italian this year - the lowest rate ever in the Giro. With six riders out of 15 in this break being Italy, the host nation makes up 40% of today's move. Could one of Boem, Barbin, Conti, Sbaragli, Villella or Visconti end the drought? Valerio Conti could go one better and nab the maglia rosa, too.
It's looking good for the breakaway who have the best part of four minutes now. That means Conti is the virtual maglia rosa - stays like this and he'll be around 1:50 ahead of Bob Jungels.
It's fair to say that today's stage is a bit of a visual feast for spectators and riders alike - not to mention the journalists covering the race. These cliffs, beaches and woodland are part of the Parco Nazionale del Gargano, which the riders will skirt all the way until the finish in Peschici.
So, Bardiani's Barbin and Boem have joined this motley crew of riders on the front: Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Gregor Mühlberger, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-hansgrohe), Davide Villella (Cannondale - Drapac), Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Laurent Didier (Trek - Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Julien Amezqueta (Wilier - Selle Italia), Clement Chevrier (AG2R La Mondiale), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom - Rusvelo) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana). They have 3:30 over the pack.
Sanchez has been caught and the chasing group has got bigger. It's about to be joined by those two Bardiani riders, too. Think that makes it 15 riders in total now. They have the best part of three minutes over the pack.
Two Bardiani-CSF riders have taken advantage of a brief lull to zip clear of the pack. They are Nicola Boem and Enrico Barbin.
Clement Chevrier (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) have joined Visconti, Muhlberger, Postlberger, Villella, Samoilau, Sbaragli, Didier and Conti in the chase group. So we have 11 men now combining in pursuit of lone leader, Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana. His gap is just 35 seconds now, with the pack two minutes down. The descent is over and we're about to hit some rolling roads ahead of the next climb.
It's the Katusha-Alpecin team of Ilnur Zakarin who are leading the chase on the front of the pack on this descent, with Steven Kruijswijl's LottoNL-Jumbo team-mates tucked in just behind.
Sanchez still has 45 seconds on the chasing group and another minute on the peloton.
Sanchez isn't a GC threat: the Spaniard is over 14 minutes down in the fight for pink. But that doesn't mean he's going to be gifted this stage. Indeed, it's because of the flurry of attacks behind him that the peloton is being extra vigilant. That man Valerio Conti, who attacked out of the break on that last climb, is only 2:10 down on Jungels on GC - so he's provoked moment behind.
The eight chasers are: Visconti, Muhlberger, Postlberger, Villella, Samoilau, Sbaragli, Didier and Valerio Conti of UAE Team Emirates. Behind them are Barta and Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal).
Luis Leon Sanchez crests the summit in pole position to take maximum KOM points. A group of eight chasers - names coming up - comes over one minute down, with the peloton going over at 1:50.
So much movement going on during this climb. Alex Howes has been caught by the pack, but his Cannondale team-mate Davide Villella has pinged off the front to join forces with Visconti. They have reached the Postlberger group of four riders - there are two more of the initial break a bit further ahead, and then Sanchez, the lone leader, ahead. The Spaniard has 1:10 over the chasers, with the peloton another 25 seconds back.
Giovanni Visconti of Bahrain Merida is the latest rider from the main pack to try his luck. But as you can see - the peloton is closing in on this move.
The initial 16-man break is down to seven men after numerous riders are dropped and swept up by the pack. meanwhile, a Cannondale rider has jumped clear of the peloton in pursuit.
Sanchez has 30 seconds over the other escapees but the peloton is only a further 25 seconds back, so it could yet all come back together.
With the gap coming down, Luis Leon Sanchez breaks clear of his fellow escapees on the steeper part of this climb.
The leaders hit the climb with a gap of 1:35 to play with. It's the Cat.2 Monte Sant'Angelo which is 9.6km long with an average gradient of 6.1% and a maximum gradient of 10%.
Before the climb there's the small matter of the intermediate sprint, and it's Quick-Step Floors rider Iljo Keisse who darts clear to take the maximum 10 points and protect the lead of his team-mate Fernando Gaviria in the maglia ciclamino competition. The Colombian has 191pts to Jasper Stuyven's 160pts, by the way, with Andre Greipel on 129pts and Caleb Ewan, yesterday's winner, on 100pts. It's worth adding that Postlberger took second place in that sprint, and he's in fifth place in the points standings. With those six points, he moves up to 98pts.
The average pace so far today has been a super fast 52km/h - amazing considering the sluggish speeds in Sardinia, which were in the mid to late 30s. The gap is 1:48 so it's keeping rather stable now.
It's a quality group out ahead with Bora-Hansgrohe boasting three riders, CCC and Bardiani with two, and nine other teams with one. On paper, the danger men seem to be Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Sanchez (Astana) and Howes (Cannondale-Drapac). That Cat.4 climb is coming up in about 10km.
It's rare that you see such a large group in a break in a non-mountain stage on a Grand Tour - and the peloton is clearly not happy. The gap is down to 1:40 as Gazprom-Rusvelo and Wilier-Selle Italia continue their pursuit of the 16 leaders.
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It's all Gazprom-Rusvelo on the front as the boys in blue try to put things straight: they've appeared in every break bar one so far in this race, and they clearly want to keep that run going. The gap is down to 2:10.
If yesterday was easy then today is an entirely different matter. Indeed, there's already a split in the peloton as the tempo increases. That break is not going to be shown the red carpet treatment by any stretch...
The chase is now being orchestrated by Italian wildcard team Wilier-Selle Italia who - you guessed it - missed the break entirely. Luca Scinto, their manager, is clearly annoyed about that and has given his riders an earful over the radio. Gazprom-Rusvelo, also, are lending a hand because they missed out as well. The latest gap is 2:25.
The other Bora rider in this three-man chase group is Gregor Muhlberger, and they're joined by Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana - who is exactly the kind of rider who could win today's stage if the break stays out. They're closing in on the leaders so Bora will soon have three riders out ahead. They mean business.
It looks like the peloton has finally sat up. There's a Gazprom-Rusvelo rider who was in that three-man chase group but it looks like he's called it a day after being caught in no-man's-land. Meanwhile, the gap of the 13 leaders stetches to 1:15 as a truce is called and riders stop for a call of nature or drop back to see the team cars...
Three riders are trying to bridge over - including two Bora-Hansgroge riders. One of them is that man Lukas Postlberger, the first maglia rosa of the race, who won the opening stage and finished third two days ago after another break. What a debut Grand Tour he's having.
So it's a baker's dozen in the break with 13 riders holding a slender lead over the pack. They are: Jan Barta (Bora-Hansgrohe), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Branislau Samoilau (CCC), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin), Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Vincenzo Albanese (Bardiani-CSF), Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step), Chris Juul-Jensen (Orica-Scott) and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac).
This is extremely intriguing: around 12 riders have managed to join forces out in front of the peloton, which seemed to be prepared to let it go, until a few more riders darted clear. That then sparked a frantic chase in the peloton, which strung out in the wind on this exposed coastal plain.
The speed has been very high - with an average speed of 55km/h - and that explains how a break has not been able to form. Such is the terrain over the second half of this stage that a breakaway could well go the distance, which is perhaps another reason for the over-vigilance in the peloton. That said, a few riders seem to have managed to edge ahead of the pack as I speak...
We join the race LIVE after a frantic opening 45km of racing - and still no break has formed on this long and flat opening section up the Adriatic coast.
It was a sunny start this morning in Molfetta as the riders got stage 8 under way...
Germany's Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Belgian Jasper Stuyven (Trek Segafredo) completed the top five, while Luxembourg national champion Bob Jungels of Quick-Step Floors – the maglia rosa – finished safely in the peloton to retain his lead in the general classification. Jungels holds a six-second lead over Team Sky's Geraint Thomas on GC, with all the other big favourites tied a further four seconds back.
Yesterday, Australia’s Caleb Ewan held off a late surge from Fernando Gaviria and Sam Bennett to win Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia in Alberobello. Ewan put his opening week frustration behind him with a timely reminder of his class in a frantic finale to an otherwise largely dour 224-kilometre stage from Castrovillari in the south of Italy. The 22-year-old pocket rocket was led out perfectly by his Orica-Scott team-mate Luka Mezgec and made the most of his positioning as he swung around the final bend of a highly technical finish in pole position. Ireland's Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Colombia's Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) finished fast – perhaps even faster than Ewan – but ultimately ran out of road, with Ewan winning in a photo finish by half a bike wheel.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia - a 189km ride from Molfetta to Peschici that really is a tale of two halves: a flat opening 85km is followed by the first of two categorised climbs, a rolling approach to the finish, and an uphill finale that kicks into a double-digit gradient. One for the puncheurs, while the GC riders will have to stay alert.