Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and the rest of the peloton were in for a very hard and fast day on stage 8 of Giro d’Italia. Kristian Sbaragli showed great legs to make it into the winning breakaway but at the end, only three riders managed to keep the peloton at bay.
Already at the beginning of today’s stage, it was clear to see that many riders had marked this stage in the road book. The pace was very high and it took more than one hour of none-stop attacking before a breakaway got a proper gap on the peloton. Sbaragli fought hard to make it into the front group and after several attacks, he finally made it. However, the teams who hadn’t managed to put a rider up the road, weren’t interested in letting the break get away. They kept the pace high and as the peloton started on the first categorized climb of the day, a couple of riders attacked and later managed to bridge across on the slopes towards the top.
In very undulating terrain, the break split up several times. Sbaragli was unlucky to get caught up behind as he was going back to the team car for bottles. Afterwards, he chased hard to rejoin the front group but even though he came very close, his chase group couldn’t close the gap on the strong riders at the front. Ultimately, on the final ascent, the 27-year-old Italian got caught by the peloton.
At the front, Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) got the better of this breakaway companions and claimed the victory, while the peloton crossed the line just 12 seconds down. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Natnael Berhane finished with the GC favorites in 27th place and moved up to 26th place overall. Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) kept the leader’s jersey for another day. Tomorrow, a difficult mountain top finish awaits the riders. The final ascent up to Blockhaus is 13.6 km long and has a staggering average gradient of 8.4 %.
Oli Cookson – sports director:
“Today, Kristian [Sbaragli] showed how versatile a rider he really is. He is so much more than just a sprinter. On the first climb, he was one of the strongest riders in the break. Unfortunately, his radio wasn’t working properly and when he dropped back to the car, the other riders at the front upped the pace and the breakaway split up. Kristian quickly came back and worked hard in the chase group but they never managed to close the gap. However, it was a very impressive performance by him today. We are looking forward to giving him more chances like this”.