Healy Wins Stage 8 of Giro d’Italia 2023
Stage 8 of Giro d’Italia 2023 started in Terni and took the Giro peloton on a 207-kilometer hilly ride to Fossombrone – a town situated further north.
Terni is located in the southern part of Umbria and is known for its Roman ruins and beautiful waterfalls surrounded by beautiful nature. Though heavily bombed during World War II, the city features numerous buildings of architectural and historic value.
Terni is known as the City of Lovers because Saint Valentine was born here and is said to be buried under the Basilica di San Valentino. Terni is also known as the City of Steel because of its dominant role in steel production. The Albornoziana fortress is located 15 kilometers from Terni and from here you have a beautiful view of the Piediluco lake, lake and mountains.
The professional cyclists, however, had limited time to enjoy the local attractions before the start of the stage.
Ineos-Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna was forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia before the start of today’s stage because of a Covid-19 (Corona) infection.
Many attempts were made at forming a viable breakaway group during the initial part of the stage. Valentin Paret-Peintre (AG2R-Citroen), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech), and Carlos Verona (Movistar Team) established an insignificant lead. Meanwhile, Primoz Roglic and the rest of his Jumbo-Visma team shortly lost contact with the main peloton group, but his teammates managed to close the gap.
The front quartet managed to increase their advantage to 20 seconds with 166 kilometers left of today’s challenge. Meanwhile, breakaway hopefuls were still eagerly attempting to bridge the gap from the main peloton. Tom Skuijns managed to join the front group for his Trek-Segafredo team.
The main peloton kept the front quintet on a short leash because an intermediate sprint was coming up where sprinters competing for the points jersey wanted to bank valuable classification points. Following the sprint, the front group’s advantage increased, and more riders were allowed to escape.
Eventually a chase group joined the front group, thereby forming a larger group that built a lead of more than five minutes. In addition to Skuijns, Valentin Paret-Peintre, Healy, Gee, and Verona, the group now included Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Samuele Battistella (Astana Team), Francois Bidard (Cofidis), Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Alessandro Iacchi (Team Corratec-Selle Italia), and Italian national champion Filippo Zana (Jayco-Alula).
In the main peloton Team DSM, Soudal-QuickStep, Ineos-Grenadiers, and Jumbo-Visma were at the front.
With 50 kilometers left of the stage, Healy attacked solo on the steep I Cappuccini climb. No other rider was able to follow Healy’s incredible speed on gradients of up to 19 percent.
Healy quickly formed a lead of more than one minute, while the remains of the breakaway group was split into atoms. Healy was in front, while a chase group formed featuring Paret-Peintre, Bais, Verona, Barguil, and Zana.
Healy was first to reach the bottom of the Category 2 Monte delle Cesane climb that features steep sections of more than ten percent. While the riders in the chase group were discussing, Healy increased his advantage to 01:30 minutes while climbing the narrow road, which by EF Education-EasyPost sport director Matti Breschel was described as a goat trail.
In the main peloton UAE Team Emirates was setting a fast pace followed by Ineos-Grenadiers riders who were working hard for their captain Geraint Thomas.
With 18 kilometers left, Healy had admirably increased his lead to no less than two minutes. Healy was wearing a Rapha bodysuit for today’s stage to obtain optimal aerodynamics.
The second time around on the steep I Cappuccini climb, Healy continued to build his lead. It was now 02:22 minutes.
In the main peloton, Bora-Hansgrohe moved to the front and increased the pace followed by Thomas and his Ineos-Grenadiers team. Roglic then attacked, but Remco Evenepoel tried to close the gap. Giro d’Italia leader Andreas Leknessund impressively managed to join Roglic, but then fell back to Evenepoel. The duo was now chasing Roglic together, while Roglic had a 8 second advantage.
Meanwhile, Healy was soloing towards the finish line while flagging his EF Education-EasyPost colors in proud fashion.
Healy won stage 8 of Giro d’Italia 2023 ahead of Gee, who won the group sprint between the chasers. Zana completed the stage podium.
Further back GC favorite Roglic had been joined by Ineos-Grenadiers riders Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart and the trio was working to gain as many seconds on a chasing Evenepoel as possible. Evenepoel was showing weakness and cracks in his armor and would not be any fun to be near when reaching the finish area.
In the general classification Leknessund now leads Evenepoel by 8 seconds. Roglic is third, 38 seconds behind the Giro leader. Joao Almeida is fourth, 40 seconds behind. Thomas is facing a 52 second deficit in fifth position.
“It’s always better to go solo if you can,” Healy explained to Roadcycling.com shortly after the finish. “On the first climb I had good legs and I gave it a go. These past couple of months have been insane and to top it all off with this victory is amazing. I’ve had some nice days in Italy this season.”
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