Caleb Ewan proved he’s equal to bigger sprinters like Pascal Ackermann and Elia Viviani in this year’s Giro d’Italia, winning Stage 8 with an unmatched burst of speed in a truncated head-to-head sprint. The rolling stage up the Adriatic coast – the longest in this year’s race, at 239 kilometers – descended into Pesaro and ended with a pair of 90-degree right-hand turns, the last one coming at just 250 meters from the finish. As the charging peloton rounded that corner, it was Ackermann and a teammate, followed by Ewan, and then Viviani. They launched their sprints in that order. Ackermann – winner of stages 2 and 5 – faded surprisingly quickly. Viviani, meanwhile, chose to try to follow in Ewan’s slipstream, rather than that of his two teammates, who were also still in the frame. But Ewan simply left him behind, keeping a steady speed to the line as Ackermann flagged.
Back in the bunch, there was little news. The long old day had been led by the two-man breakaway of Marco Frapporti and Damiano Cima. With about 35 kilometers to go, they were joined by mountains-classification leader Giulio Ciccone, who was keen to take a few points on the final classified climb of the day. He would then helm a separate breakaway with Francois Bidard and Louis Vervaeke, but the riders were all back together with just over six kilometers remaining and the race preparing to head down into Pesaro the finishing sprint.
Tomorrow’s stage will be a reprieve from the long rollers that have marked the first week of this year’s Giro. Stage 9 is a 35-kilometer individual time trial from Riccione up into the Republic of San Marino, with a steep climb in the finish.