Brit Alex Dowsett claims Israel Start-up Nation’s first Grand Tour Stage Victory
Time Trial Champion follows Filippo Ganna and wins a full fat hardcore road stage at the Giro
British cyclist Alex Dowsett, known for his time trialling abilities will be remembered for claiming the first Grand Tour stage victory for the Israel Start-up Nation.
Dowsett attacked his fellow breakaway companions on a small climb with 17kms to go, and buried himself to maintain a lead of 39 seconds on the finishing course.
Stage 8 to to Vieste was a fairly flat 200 kms, Dowsett joined five other riders in the breakaway and built up a lead of over 12 minutes including; Ravanelli (ANS), Rosskopf (CCC), Brandle, Holmes (LTS), Puccio (ING)
The peloton were disinterested in the chase, especially after yesterdays brutally windy and crash marred stage and with the first big mountain stage looming tomorrow.
At the line some 12 minutes later, Michael Matthews won the sprint from the galloping bunch, beating Gaviria and Viviani.
Alex Dowsett said after the stage "It was such a tough year with all of the uncertainty and trying to work out how I’m going to get to next year and still be racing and still be doing what I love and still being able to put food on the table for three of us come January. Hopefully, that will help. To win like that as well… As you get older you wonder when your last win might be, so you learn to savour it and enjoy it."
"There were some strong guys in the break and the only unknown for us was the fella from Androni. Niki Sorensen on the radio was telling us how good each rider was over the radio. We knew we had our work cut out but with Matthias and myself in the breakaway we knew we could use each other. The last time I was in the breakaway with Mathias, he won the stage at the Tour of Britain and I went into the yellow jersey. Only good things happen when I am in a break with Mathias."
"It will be a relief for the team to get the win under the best. The team can end this year pretty content with how things have gone."
Sports Director Mathias Bandle from Team Israel Start-Up Nation said at the finish, "I think it was a really well-deserved victory for Alex. He still doesn’t have a contract for next year so this will for sure help him. I’m really happy for him and he also showed today on the first lap when we were both dropped we worked together and came back and said that I would attack and then he would attack and the other one would control the other guys."
"He chose the perfect moment and he was really strong afterwards and he had a nice gap on the climb. I knew that if he had a good gap on the top then he could time trial to the line."
In the race for the maglia rosa there were no changes, Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) retained his lead in the race, although there was a brief scare for Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) who suffered a mechanical on the only major climb of the day and was forced to use his entire Astana team to regain contact.
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) tested positive for COVID-19 and left the race ahead of the stage, his whole Mitchelson-Scott team tested negative.
Don't miss Stage 9 tomorrow!
The 199 km stage from San Salvo to Roccaraso is the Queen Stage across the Apennines, with a over 4,000 m of climbing. After briefly skirting the Adriatic coast, the route heads inland, undulating continuously all the way to Guardiagrele, and then takes in long, consecutive climbs up Passo Lanciano, Passo di San Leonardo and Bosco di Sant’Antonio, with two-figure gradients over the first ascent. Past Pescocostanzo and Rivisondoli, the route reaches the foot of the closing climb in Roccaraso.
This will be a big test for the GC contenders and a tough day out for the Spinters.
VIDEO: 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 8 Highlights
2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 8 Top 10
1 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation 4:50:09
2 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:15
3 Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
4 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team
5 Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:02:10
6 Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:02:13
7 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:13:56
8 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
9 Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
10 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale
2020 Giro d'Italia General Classification after stage 8
1 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 29:52:34
2 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:43
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:48
4 Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:59
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:01
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:01:05
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:21
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:26
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:32