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

Caleb Ewan sprinted to his second victory of this year's Giro d'Italia and moved into the points jersey after his stage seven triumph.

The Lotto Soudal rider beat Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) in a sprint finish at the end of a 181km stage from Notaresco to Termoli.

Australian Ewan, who also triumphed on stage five, now has five career stage wins at the Giro and 11 victories to his name across the three grand tours.

Towards the end of a quiet stage, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) - who ultimately finished sixth - made the first move but was unable to make it stick, with Ewan winning comfortably.

Attila Valter of Groupama-FDJ remains in the leader's pink jersey after finishing safely in the peloton. He is 11 seconds clear of Remco Evenepoel.

"It was a question of being smart and a lot of teamwork," stage winner Ewan said as he described the finish over some tight and twisty roads.

"There were a few points in the last 10km where we needed to be in the front so we didn't have to brake and we got a really good ride in. They did a really good job.

"My legs were burning at the end, it was basically sprinting for the last 450 metres with a slight uphill so it was a tough one.

"When Gavaria goes you know he has the strength and the speed to hold it. I had a bit of a run and really accelerated."
 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 4:42:12
2. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) same time
3. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) "
4. Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) "
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarche - Wanty - Gobert Materiaux) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) 26:59:18
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.11
3. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.16

Points Classification         

1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 106
2. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76

King of the Mountains

1. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 26
2. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 18
3. Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) 16

Caleb Ewan sprinted to victory in a chaotic finish to stage fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia which saw Mikel Landa abandon the race and Pavel Sivakov also suffer a heavy crash.

Lotto Soudal rider Ewan had the pace to burst away from heavy traffic and claim the fourth Giro stage win of his career ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis).

The Australian's win in Cattolica on Wednesday was overshadowed by accidents in the closing stages of the 177-kilometre route from Modena.

Landa and Sivakov went down heavily in separate incidents, with the Spaniard taken to hospital after being unable to get back on his feet.

Bahrain Victorious rider Landa looked in great pain as he was treated on the roadside before an ambulance arrived.

Fellow general classification contender Sivakov crashed in the final 15km and although he was able to get back on his bike, it remains to be seen if the Russian will be able to continue.

Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) appeared to touch wheels with a team-mate as his hopes of winning the Giro evaporated in dramatic fashion.

Joe Dombrowski, leader of the king of the mountains, also crashed on his birthday a day after the American gave himself an early present by winning stage four. 

Dombrowski had started the day second in the GC standings and his crash left Alessandro De Marchi with a 42-second advantage in the Maglia Rosa.

Francois Bidard was another rider who came off in a painful day for several riders, but a glorious one for Ewan after the peloton had reeled in Alexis Gougeard, Davide Gabburo and Simon Pellaud.

Ewan said: "The goal to start with was one [stage win], so I've done that, and I think you know me, I'm pretty hungry to win as much as I can, so maybe this is good confidence for the team and myself going forward and, you know, in the next few sprint stages it'll show."

 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 4:07:01
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) same time
3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) same time
4. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
5. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (UAE Team Emirates) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) 17:57:45
2. Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix) +00:42
3. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) +00:48

Points Classification        

1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 72
2. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 68
3. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 59

King of the Mountains

1. Joe Dombrowski (UAE-Team Emirates) 18
2. Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team) 16
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 13

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