Belgian veteran Thomas de Gendt took another beautiful Grand Tour victory by winning stage eight of the Giro d’Italia in Naples.
The 35-year-old was part of an early breakout before attacking again in the later stages and winning a four-man sprint at the end of a mountainous circuit.
It is the Lotto-Soudal rider’s fifth Grand Tour victory, 10 years after his first at the Giro.
Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez took the leader’s pink shirt.
Lopez, the initial leader but not seen as a true challenger for the overall race victory, ended up in the pack with most of the top contenders for the overall standings.
Frenchman Guillaume Martin was part of the initial split that ended three minutes ahead of the pack, allowing him to jump from 14th to fourth in the overall standings.
Sunday’s stage, which features a series of big climbs, will be the first test for the competitors, which includes Britain’s Simon Yates.
On his stage win, De Gendt said, “Today was one of those days that suits me.
“Ten years after the Stelvio stage [his first Giro win] I finally win a stage in the Giro again.
“If you’d asked two weeks ago if I could do it, I would have said no, because I was in really bad shape. Now the good legs are coming.”
Eighth phase results
- Thomas de Gendt (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) 3h 32min 52s
- Davide Gaburro (Ita/Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) at the same time
- Jorge Arcas (Spa/Movistar) at the same time
- Harm Vanhoucke (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) +4 seconds
- Biniam Girmay (Eri/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) +15 seconds
- Mauro Schmid (Sui/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) at the same time
- Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/Alpecin-Fenix) at the same time
- Woet Poels (Ned/Team Bahrain) +33 seconds
- Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) at the same time
- Fabio Felline (Ita/Astana Qazaqstan) +2mins56secs
- Juan Pedro Lopez (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) 32h 15min 31s
- Lennard Kamna (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +38 seconds
- Rein Taaramae (Est/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +58 seconds
- Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +1min 6s
- Simon Yates (GB/BikeExchange-Jayco Team) +1min 42s
- Mauri Vansevenant (Bel/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) +1min 47sec
- Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 55s
- João Almeida (By/UAE Team Emirates) +1min 58sec
- Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +2 minutes
- Richie Porte (Aus/Ineos Grenadiers) +2min 4sec