The bunch is easing its way towards the finish, nobody looks too keen on any late attacks, presumably keeping their powder dry ahead of Sunday’s mountainous stage.
This one is in the bag. This will be the biggest win on the road of Alex Dowsett’s career. There’s a naughty dog out on the course, but thankfully Dowsett has enough time in the bank and will be able to ease off the pedals a little and navigate his way safely around the little invader.
Alex Dowsett is moments away from winning a famous stage.
Alex Dowsett’s lead is still growing: 43sec.
Alex Dowsett leads the stage by 39sec. Unless he crashes or suffers a major mechanical issue, then this stage is his.
Alex Dowsett is around five minutes away from winning stage eight at the Giro d’Italia.
Alex Dowsett is flying at 60km/h and has increased his lead to 32sec. Surely he is going to hold on? Surely the boy from Essex is going to give British fans what they so desperately crave: a reason to cheer at this year’s Giro d’Italia following the departures of Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates..
With the climbs having been tackled, Alex Dowsett is back on his preferred terrain. It is Dowsett vs a three-up time trial now. Alex Dowsett vs Salvatore Puccio, Matthew Holmes and Joey Rosskopf. My money is on the former world hour record holder.
Exactly the same as on the previous ascent of this climb, Salvatore Puccio and Matthew Holmes look the strongest. The pair have dropped Joey Rosskopf and have eaten into Alex Dowsett’s lead, but the Israel Start-up Nation rider is holding on with a 26sec advantage.
Back onto this steep climb for the second time and Salvatore Puccio, Matthew Holmes and Joey Rosskopf have dropped Matthias Brändle and Simone Ravanelli.
Alex Dowsett’s advantage keeps getting bigger. The Maldon rider lead this stage by 50sec. The peloton, by the way, trails by 12min 40sec.
Alex Dowsett is gaining, the 32-year-old now leads by 40sec.
Alex Dowsett’s advantage increases to 31sec. Back in the chasing group, Matthias Brändle is making a nuisance of himself, constantly tucking in at wheel two forcing the third man in the group to ride around him and waste valuable energy. Canny.
Alex Dowsett has increased his lead to 24 seconds. Can the popular Essex boy go all the way today? He has passed the bell and is one lap away from a quite superb stage win.
Alex Dowsett is hunched over his bars, assuming the best time trial position he can. Remember, he has team-mate Matthias Brändle in the chasing group, the Austrian could either counter-attack should Dowsett’s attempt flounder, or disrupt the chase.
Alex Dowsett, the British time trial champion, has clipped off the front and has put a few seconds between himself and the quintet he has spent most of the day riding with. With the steep climb coming, Dowsett probably needs to gain 20 or 30 seconds if he is to take the stage win.
The peloton is very much on the final circuit. Matthias Brändle, Alex Dowsett and Simone Ravanelli, meanwhile, have bridged over to the stage leaders.
Matthew Holmes, Salvatore Puccio and Joey Rosskopf are working well together, riding through-and-off. Holmes reaches into his rear pocket, taking a late hit of fuel ahead of what could be the biggest day of the 26-year-old Briton’s career.
22.5km to go
Matthew Holmes, Salvatore Puccio and Joey Rosskopf lead the stage, team-mates Matthias Brändle and Alex Dowsett trail by 11sec and have Simone Ravanelli for company.
24km to go
Joey Rosskopf has bridged over to Salvatore Puccio and Matthew Holmes. The leading trio now have a lap of Vieste to complete, but there’s a steep little dig that pitches up to over 15 per cent which may prove to be where the stage is won.
25km to go
Salvatore Puccio and Matthew Holmes lead; Joey Rosskopf is fighting to chase the pair down. Simone Ravanelli has Alex Dowsett for company.
25.5km to go
The breakaway is on the outskirts of Vieste and the road is pitching up. Salvatore Puccio and Matthew Holmes move to the front, Matthias Brändle is dropped as is team-mate Alex Dowsett.
29km to go
All back as one on the front, the six-man group appears twitchy as the riders eye each other, waiting for the next attack. Will Israel Start-up Nation deliver attack-after-attack in an attempt to break the others, and can one of the newest teams in the WorldTour land their biggest win yet?
29.5km to go
Alex Dowsett and Salvatore Puccio have a few bike lengths on Matthias Brändle, Matthew Holmes, Simone Ravanelli and Joey Rosskopf.
30km to go — Dowsett attacks!
As the road kicks up, the boy from Essex Alex Dowsett attacks, taking with his former team-mate Salvatore Puccio and Matthew Holmes.
35km to go
40km to go
Matthias Brändle, Alex Dowsett, Matthew Holmes, Salvatore Puccio, Simone Ravanelli or Joey Rosskopf? One of these riders will be winning this stage today, but who? With two riders in the breakaway you would expect that Israel Start-up Nation would be confident of winning their first ever stage in a grand tour, but can they pull it off? Equally, British fans will be hoping that either Dowsett or Holmes can give them a boost with the win. Puccio, Ravanelli and Rosskopf, however, will be in no mood to hand out any gifts.
43km to go
The win will be coming from the breakaway . . .
. . . it’s official . . .
50km to go
The breakaway’s advantage increases to 10min 30sec.
55km to go
Gianluca Brambilla – GETTY IMAGES
The race doctor spoke briefly with Carboni, while Brambilla was handed a new helmet from his team car after one of Vincenzo Nibali’s key helpers presumably damaged it it the fall.
60km to go
The breakaway has gained a few more seconds on the peloton and it is starting to look as if the stage winner may come from the sextet.
68km to go
70km to go
72km to go
75km to go
Gastauer abandons the Giro
84km to go
Vincenzo Nibali and his Trek-Segafredo team-mates shift towards the front of the peloton on the descent. Does the Shark smell blood?” data-reactid=”191″ type=”text”>Vincenzo Nibali and his Trek-Segafredo team-mates shift towards the front of the peloton on the descent. Does the Shark smell blood?
90km to go
The breakaway is descending over the Monte Sant’Angelo with the azzurri Adriatic Sea glistening in the distance. All six are working pretty well together. If a rider or team in the peloton wants to challenge for the stage win today, then they really need to start thinking about eating away at their 10-minute lead.
The approach to Vieste (see above) is twisty, but not too technical.
Around 10km to go there is a sharp kicker, followed by a gradual descent before the road rises again.
94.5km to go
95km to go
The breakaway is almost at the summit of the Monte Sant’Angelo. Although some of the sprinters are starting to drop back through the peloton, the gap between the two is holding at 10min 15sec.
100km to go
The breakaway is edging its way up the category two category Monte Sant’Angelo. At around nine kilometres in length at an average gradient of 6.1 per cent it may not look the hardest ascent in the world, but after moving from the panflat road to these sort of climbs, the switch in gearing can occasionally bite.
103km to go
As it stands . . .
Salvatore Puccio sits on the front of the breakaway, ahead of Matthias Brändle, Alex Dowsett and Joey Rosskopf – GETTY IMAGES
Incidentally, horse meat is often found in the area the riders are riding though today, and there is some serious horsepower in this sextet of riders that clipped off the front after around 25 kilometres. There are two former hour record holders, Israel Start-up Nation team-mates Brändle and Dowsett, while Rosskopf is a two-time US national time trial champion. Holmes, the 26-year-old Briton, is making his grand tour debut and won the queen stage at the Tour Down Under — on Willunga Hill — back in January.
And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage eight at the Giro d’Italia, the 200km run that heads north from Giovinazzo up along the Adriatic coast before concluding in the hill-top town of Vieste.
Today’s stage is one of two halves: the opening 90km stretch is panflat, before the route cuts inland and towards the category two Monte Sant’Angelo where 18, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 point will be available to the first six over the summit in the race for the mountains jersey. The second climb — Guardiola — is significantly easier and so the leading trio over the top will take 3, 2 and 1 points respectively.
Today’s stage got under way at 10.33am (BST) and, as it stands, there is a six-man breakaway leading. Our liveblog starts at 12.30pm.
the departure of Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who was forced to abandon after testing positive for Covid-19.” data-reactid=”341″ type=”text”>By the way, there were five non-starters after Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-Scott), Sean Bennett (EF Pro Cycling), Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Patrick Gamper (Bora-Hansgrohe) all sustained injuries during Friday’s stage. The big news of the day, however, was the departure of Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who was forced to abandon after testing positive for Covid-19.