Izaguirre wins stage, Jungels keeps Giro lead despite crash
PESCHICI, Italy (AP) Spanish rider Gorka Izaguirre profited from a crash on the short but steep concluding climb to win the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday while Bob Jungels held on to the pink jersey despite a minor crash.
Izaguirre had time to raise his arms and celebrate his first individual Grand Tour win while Giovanni Visconti crossed second, five seconds behind, and Luis Leon Sanchez finished third, five seconds further back.
Valerio Conti was leading the four-man breakaway at the start of the concluding 1.5-kilometer climb but he lost control and crashed to the pavement while negotiating a tight turn. That’s when Izaguirre made his decisive attack.
”Visconti was probably the most dangerous rival for the stage victory in the front group,” Izaguirre said. ”I got an opportunity and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.”
Izaguirre also won a team time trial with Movistar in the 2014 Spanish Vuelta.
Jungels and the other overall favorites finished 12 seconds behind Izaguirre.
Jungels, of Luxembourg with the Quick Step team, maintained his six-second advantage over Geraint Thomas of Wales. Fellow Briton Adam Yates remained third, 10 seconds back, with most of the overall favorites.
The 189-kilometer (117-mile) stage began in Molfetta and hugged the coast of the Puglia region and the Gargano peninsula before finishing in the picturesque town of Peschici amid its white stone homes.
Jungels, who claimed the pink jersey after the fourth stage, crashed on a downhill section with 35 kilometers to go and bloodied his left knee.
”It’s not a problem,” Jungels said. ”I just didn’t pay attention and I hit the back wheel of my teammate on a low-speed corner.”
Jungels and the other leaders also had to chase down an attack by Sky’s Mikel Landa.
”We knew it would be a hard start but nobody expected such a competitive stage,” said Jungels, who at age 24 also leads the under-25 classification.
Stage 9 on Sunday concludes with a serious climb to Blockhaus.
The 100th Giro ends in Milan on May 28.