• Benat Intxausti celebrates a solo stage victory at the 2015 Giro d'Italia (Sirotti)
Benat Intxausti won the 8th stage of the Giro d’Italia after holding a late solo break to the finish as general classification favourites Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru and Australia's Richie Porte tested each other.
By
Cycling Central

17 May 2015 - 1:35 AM  UPDATED 17 May 2015 - 6:14 AM

The Movistar rider finished ahead of a fast moving Mikel Landa (Astana) and Sebastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling).

As  Intxausti finished all eyes turned to the battle for the general classification. Could Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) hold off any possible challenges from Fabio Aru (Astana) and Richie Porte (Sky)?

The answer is that Contador would. He emerged from the stage unscathed and with a cheeky two seconds added to his lead in an unchanged general classification.

"I’m really happy. Yesterday and today have been really hard days. Today the start of the stage was incredibly fast until the break went. Then at the end Astana made it difficult for us. Aru and Richie both wanted to attack but I think that I responded quite well and now I’m off to rest. It was obvious that Aru was going to attack today. Richie and Fabio are both here to win and that’s what they’re trying to do. They tried to get me, they tried to attack me and despite my crash I’ve been able to respond to these attacks."- Alberto Contador

After some hard early racing Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia really began on the 26km climb on the Forca d’Acero with Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) holding a seven minute lead on a reduced peloton led by race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). Stuck in the middle was another group led by Carlos Betancur (AG2R).

Ahead was the final climb at more than 15km long to the Ski station summit at Campitello Matese with its 10 per cent gradients, designed to shake up the race.

Kruijswijk was joined by Betancur, Androni Sidermec’s Franco Pellizotti (who would later drop off) and Kristof Vandevalle of Trek Factory Racing with several other groups forming as they dropped down to the valleys between the two major climbs.

The time gap to the Contador group was in excess of nine minutes with smaller gaps to the riders in between but with 70km to go it appeared that all of the podium positions would come from the leading trio. The only question was in what order.

On the other hand the battle for the general classification remained wide open and  was yet to be decided - and wouldn’t be until the final few kilometres.

Sure enough the stage turned inside the final 15km at the start of the climb to Campitello Matese. Astana drove the peloton harder and the gap to the break was halved in an instant. It was no longer certain that any one rider in the break would stay away.

Sensing that their hopes were threatened the break ended its co-operation with Betancur chancing a solo effort. But Kruijswijk countered as Vandevalle faltered and passed through the 10km kite alone but feeling the hot breath of the chase coming from behind.

The race remained wide open as Kruijswijk continued, Betancur and Vandewalle slid backwards. Moving up were two from the original break, Sebastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling) and Benat Intxausti (Movistar).

The general classification battle began with 4.6km to go when Fabio Aru launched the first move covered by Contador, Porte, Uran and the hangers on.

While that foray by the big names was playing itself out, Intxausti moved to the front of the race and held his position to the finish.

Astana and Aru did their best to hurt a wounded Contador and distance Porte but their efforts were not rewarded as both riders stayed remained composed despite the effort and the three crossed the finish line together. 

Stage 8: 183km, Fiuggi - Campitello Matese
1 Benat Intxausti (ESP) Movistar 4hr 51min 34sec
2 Mikel Landa (ESP) Astana 0:00:20
3 Sébastien Reichenbach (SUI) IAM 0:00:31
4 Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana 0:00:35
5 Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Richie Porte (AUS) Sky
7 Rigoberto Uran (COL) Etixx-QuickStep
8 Dario Cataldo (ITA) Astana
9 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Nippo-Vini Fantini 0:00:45
10 Damiano Caruso (ITA) BMC

General classification
1 Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff-Saxo 32hr 40min 07sec
2 Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana 0:00:04
3 Richie Porte (AUS) Sky 0:00:22
4 Dario Cataldo (ITA) Astana 0:00:30
5 Mikel Landa Meana (ESP) Astana 0:00:42
6 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:00
7 Giovanni Visconti (ITA) Movistar 0:01:16
8 Rigoberto Uran (COL) Etixx-QuickStep 0:01:24

Giro d'Italia
Giro d'Italia broadcast details
SBS will broadcast every stage of the Giro d'Italia live. When possible, we will also live stream the race online here at Cycling Central before the television broadcast begins. In addition to morning highlights online, there will be highlights every day at 6pm on SBS 2.