Lafay sprints to Giro stage win as Ewan abandons race

By Sports Desk May 15, 2021

Victor Lafay landed his first grand tour major success by winning stage eight in style for Cofidis at the Giro d'Italia.

The 25-year-old French rider made a solo dart to the finish line with just under three kilometres remaining, crossing 36 seconds ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), who edged out Nikias Arndt (Team DSM).

Saturday's ride from Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi saw no major disruption in the general classification picture, with Attila Valter remaining in the pink jersey, still 11 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel.

The overall leaders finished in the peloton, four minutes and 48 seconds behind Lafay, meaning the Giro remains nicely poised heading into Sunday's stage, which takes the riders from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice.

Notably, however, Caleb Ewan abandoned the race, with the Australian sprinter having achieved his targets for the Giro, winning two stages in the first week. He hopes to also win stages at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana and had not been expected to complete the Giro, with his team, Lotto Soudal, reporting Ewan quit due to "pain in his knee".

Lafay said of his first major win as a professional: "It's incredible. It was a very tough day.

"To take the breakaway was very difficult, but when it's gone the peloton left us seven minutes, so it was good, we could recover a little.

"The finish was hard, but it's about 10 minutes' effort and that's where I'm the best so I was focused all the day for the support and I'm really happy I did that."

Speaking on Eurosport, Lafay said he felt Portuguese rider Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) was the big threat from the riders who had pulled clear of the peloton.

"I knew they were not climbing well but Oliveira I think was the best one, so I kept an eye on him, but I was confident with my legs and I attacked with 3k to go, and I don't believe it now that I just won."

STAGE RESULT  

1. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) 4:06:47
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa) +36 secs
3. Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) +37s
4. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) +41s
5. Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) +44s

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) 31:10:53
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.11
3. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.16

Points Classification

1. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76
3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

King of the Mountains

1. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 26
2. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 18
3. Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal) 18

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