De Gendt takes Giro eighth stage in Naples


A decade after his first Giro d’Italia stage victory, Belgian cyclist Thomas De Gendt has claimed his second, while Spain’s Juan Pedro Lopez remained in the leader’s pink jersey.

De Gendt was helped by Lotto-Soudal teammate Harm Vanhoucke and edged out Davide Gabburo and Jorge Arcas in the sprint at the end of Saturday’s undulating 153-kilometre eighth stage which started and finished in Naples.

The 35-year-old, a teammate of Australian star Caleb Ewan who’s missed out so far on the Giro, sat up and pumped his fist in celebration as he crossed the line for Lotto-Soudal’s first win of the 2022 edition.

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All four riders were part of a 21-man breakaway that got away in a fast start, driven by Mathieu van der Poel, who was keen for the stage win.

The route took in four laps of a 19-kilometre circuit in the volcanic surrounding area.

It was on the penultimate lap that van der Poel tried to attack, but he was caught by other riders from the breakaway.

Shortly after, the quartet that contested the final sprint managed to get clear, with 40 kilometres remaining.

Most of the overall contenders crossed the line together, about three and a half minutes behind De Gendt.

Lopez maintained his 38-second advantage over Lennard Kamna after moving into the overall lead on Tuesday. Rein Taaramae was third, 58 seconds behind Lopez.

Three Australian riders are still in the race’s top 20, with Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers) 10th overall at two minutes four seconds down, Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) 15th at 2:16 down and Lucas Hamilton (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 20th at 2:27.

Sunday’s ninth stage is one of the toughest in this year’s race, a 191km route from Isernia which finishes atop the fearsome Blockhaus, with double-digit gradients along a series of hairpin bends leading to the line.

There are also three other categorised climbs on a day that includes 5,000 metres of climbing.

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