The course for today’s 54.8 kilometre time trial was quite technical with turns and climbs from Gabicce Mare to Saltara. From the start, at the coast, the roads are very tricky with no section that a rider can concentrate and push the bigger gears, then through the middle section and the time check of Pesaro, the road has cobbles and the usual street furniture. From there to the finish is faster, but tough with a twisty ramp to the finish.
The stage 8 “Fly Through” from globalcyclingnetwork:
The expectations were that Bradley Wiggins (Sky) would make up the lost time from Friday’s stage 7 where it looked like he lost all confidence after slipping to the ground, losing over a minute to the other GC hopefuls.
The early leader was Alex Dowsett, Movistar’s Great Britain time trial champion, he covered the 54.8 kilometres in a time of 1:16.27, he Twittered after he finished: “hardest tt of my life”, but there was a lot of riders to come in yet. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) didn’t press too hard and finished quite far down, but it’s not important for the point’s leader.
Dowsett told RAI Sport TV that he had tried so hard that he couldn’t see properly on the last climb.
Australian Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) was also tipped to do a good ride here, but came in 35 seconds down on Dowsett.
Bradley Wiggins looked fairly relaxed as he rolled down the start ramp and into the twisting course towards the beach and then onto the first of the stiff little climbs. He not only needed to recuperate lost time, but also put time into riders like Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali, last year’s Giro winner; Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Cadel Evans (BMC). As Wiggins was outside the top 20, all the riders in front of him were at just 1 minute intervals, the first being Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) who he caught after 12 minutes.
Back at the start ramp; Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) rolled off on what for him would be make or break for his 2013 Giro d’Italia as his TTing can be erratic.
Wiggins needed a bike change from his special Pinarello to the normal TT mount, what the problem was had something to do with the rear wheel as he gesticulated at it and then the bike was launched into the bushes and the new bike mounted with a loss of 10 seconds at most.
At the time check in Pesano, Wiggins time was 37.12 which was 52 seconds slower than Dowsett, his team mate Rigoberto Uran was faster at this point. Out on the course Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) had been caught by Sergio Henao (Sky) and the two riders were passing and re-passing each other.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) struggled to get his foot located in the pedal due to his aero overshoes, but was off into the test with speed to defend his Giro win from last year. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was next to go, he has been working on his TT position during the winter, he will need everything today to stay in contention. Last man off; Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) is another rider who will need to pull everything out of the bag to hold his position.
Michele Scarponi came through the time check in 3rd place at 30 seconds, which is a great ride from him, but the final section, before the climb to the line is faster and not so suited to the Lampre man. Robert Gesink (Blanco) at the half way point was 4th at 41 seconds as Cadel Evans was 2nd at 22 seconds.
Tanel Kangert (Astana) struggled hard over the last metres and looked like he had the better of Dowsett, but those last pedal strokes took all his strength and he came in at 14 seconds.
At the finish Sergio Henao dropped his partner, Kelderman, and finished 53 seconds back on Dowsett. Bradley Wiggins came in fast with a time of 1:16:37, coming back from a deficit of nearly a minute to be only 10 seconds slower than the British champion. Rigoberto Uran slowed over the last kilometres for a time of over a minute down.
At the split; Ryder Hesjedal was 43 seconds behind Dowsett, he was followed by Nibali who came through fastest; 8 seconds faster than Dowsett. The Pink jersey of Beñat Intxausti was over a minute slower at the intermediate mark and out of it.
So, all eyes were on the finish area waiting to see how the top men would fair on the torturous finale, most riders looked to have nothing left as they tackled the climb, although Wiggins timed his ride beautifully to put in a phenomenal last 3 kilometres.
Michele Scarponi had enough left in the tank for the climb and posted a time of 1:17:20 at 30 seconds which he should be happy with. Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samuel Sanchez finished over 3 minutes down as Hesjedal caught his two minute man Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), but at this point was 51 seconds down on Nibali as Cadel Evans was 1:33 down at the same point, but this was before the final climb.
Cadel Evans rode well on the climb and will not be disappointed with his finishing time of 1:17:06 at 39 seconds. Ryder Hesjedal was at 2:44 on Dowsett at the second time check and Nibali had also slowed to be 1:07 down, it was all down to the last ramp to the finish line to decide the stage and who will be in Pink tonight. Intxausti was now well out of the picture.
Ryder Hesjedal had to give it 100% as he hit the wall of the last 700 meters; Evans had looked fresh in comparison to the Canadian. Hesjedal struggled with a pair of broken legs for a time of 1:18:50. Nibali was moving faster, but not what you would call a smooth style, his time of 1:16:48 was still very good and enough to take the Pink jersey of overall leader.
Beñat Intxausti zig zaged towards the line and his time of 1:20:29 was a reflection of how hard this stage was.
Young Alex Dowsett of Movistar won the time trial stage in his first Grand Tour, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) moved into Pink and the fire of the Giro d’Italia burns even stronger.
Keep it PEZ for everything Giro.
Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Result:
1. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar in 1:16:27
2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:10
3. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 0:14
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:21
5. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco at 0:32
6. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:35
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:39
8. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:45
9. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:53
10. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 8:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 29:46:57
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:29
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 1:15
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:16
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:24
6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 2:05
7. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 2:11
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:43
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 2:44
10. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:49.