|Giro d’Italia Stage 8
Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) claimed his first ever Grand Tour stage win with a solo attack to Arezzo. Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale) followed him home over a minute back with Moreno Moser (Cannondale) rounding out the podium and ensured Italy locked out the top spots. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) led home a group of favourites that included Mikel Landa (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alepcin) had a tough day and was dropped on the main climb of the Alpe di Poti.
Dumoulin finished more than three minutes back on Brambilla, handing the young Italian the maglia rosa. Brambilla now leads Ilnur Zakrin by 23 seconds.
"I can’t believe what I’ve done," Brambilla said. "Thanks to Matteo Trentin, we did an amazing job all day. It was a hard stage in the final. He pulled until the last climb then it was my turn. I’m really happy – this victory is for my girlfriend Christina, and my little girl who was born 20 days ago. My idea at the beginning of the Giro was this stage, and I did it. I can’t believe I have the pink jersey.”
Despite being less than two minutes down on the general classification, Brambilla made it a
way as part of a 13-man group right at the start of the day. Importantly for the 28-year-old, Matteo Trentin was also part of the breakaway and put in a lot of work on the front to keep the peloton at bay. Brambilla made his move in the main climb of the Alpe di Poti, following an earlier move from Montaguti. The baby-faced climber, who finished third at Strade Bianche earlier this season, quickly caught and passed the AG2R La Mondiale on the dirt roads that covered much of the ascent.
Brambilla’s gap was never too big over Montaguti, hovering at around 30 seconds for most of the run into the finish. At one point on the descent, it looked like Montaguti might be able to close the gap to Brambilla when he had brought it down to just 19 seconds but his hopes faded away once they had reached the flat. Brambilla was able to push out his lead to just over a minute by the time he hit the line in Arezzo.