Join us tomorrow for stage nine, a 166km run featuring no categorised climbs from San Giorgio nel Sannio to Frosinone.
Sulmona - Lago Laceno
Giro d'Italia - 13 May 2012
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 17:00 on 13 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Rodriguez moves up to second ahead of Italy's Paolo Tiralongo.
And the top five on GC: 1. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada / Garmin) 32 hrs 23 mins 25secs 2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +9" 3. Paolo Tiralongo (Italy / Astana) +15" 4. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic / Astana) +35" 5. Benat Intxausti (Spain / Movistar)
The top 10 on the stage: 1.Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/Colnago - CSF) 6hrs 06mins 05secs 2. Benat Intxausti (Spain / Movistar) +23" 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +27"4. Thomas De Gendt (Belgium / Vacansoleil) 5. Dario Cataldo (Italy / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 6. Damiano Caruso (Italy / Liquigas) 7. Gianluca Brambilla (Italy / Colnago - CSF)8. Bartosz Huzarski (Poland / NetApp) 9. Jose Rujano (Venezuela / Androni Giocattoli) 10. John Gadret (France / AG2R)
Intxausti takes second at 23s while the 20-strong peloton was 27s back, led by Joaquim Rodriguez of Katyusha.
And in comes Pozzovivo to claim stage eight of the Giro d'Italia!!! Great ride.
Colnago star Pozzovivo still going strong and staying ahead of the chasing rider. He is set for a great reception in the town.
The Basque is 23s behind Pozzovivo, who is on home roads. The peloton around 40s behind the leader.
Benat Intxausti of Movistar has left the bunch and is trying to catch the leader.
As the road levels out and drop slightly, Pozzovivo is off! Can he hold out for the stage win?
The gap with one kilometre of climb to go is up to 28 seconds. However he then has 4km of flat to race around, which will be tough on him.
Domenico Pozzovivo attacks! The diminutive Colnago rider has already pulled out a big advantage as fans throw water on him to cool him down!
White jersey Peter Stetina (GRM) is struggling as Liquigas remain at the front.
The climb begins to bite with 8.5km to go - overall it is 9.9km at a 6.0% gradient to 1087m elevation. Sylwester Szmyd now at the front ahead of Liquigas team-mate Ivan Basso.
The peloton is stretched out as they go over cobbles on the climb. No one has made a break for it as yet.
Liquigas are following as they begin the final climb with Lampre behind them.
Astana controlling the front of the peloton.
The two leaders have been caught - the stage is set for the final climb. There is a slight ascent then descent before that cat.2 Colle Molella.
Race leader Ryder Hesjedal (GRM) has a puncture and is having to chase his way back to catch up with the peloton. He has some way to go. Amador attacking but the gap is now under a minute.
Amador and Marczynski swooping down the descent, with the lead now 1:38. They face a battle to stay out.
The gap is down to just over two minutes. The Lago Laceno finish is the southern-most point of this Giro, with the riders cycling round the west side of the lake before finishing in the town.
The front duo's gap to the peloton is down to 3:12, and diminishing steadily as they approach the descent into Ponteromito. The climb to the finish is 14.25km in length. I have taken over from Lee to bring you the conclusion of this stage - get in touch on Twitter with your thoughts.
Katusha now driving the pace on the front of the peloton.
Andrey Amador (CRC / Movistar) and Tomasz Marczynski (POL / Vacansoleil) have extended their lead back out to five minutes.
Amador and Marczynski have broken away from their fellow escapees.
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The four leaders now just 4:05 ahead of the peloton.
Marczynski takes the points at the intermediate sprint in San Giorgio del Sannio. He is followed by the Basque Minguez and Berard.
The difference is now five minutes.
Hesjedal rejoins the peloton after dropping back to his team car to talk to the director.
6:45 is now the lead for Julien Berard (FRA/Ag2r), Miguel Minguez (ESP / Euskaltel), Andrey Amador (CRC / Movistar) and Tomasz Marczynski (POL / Vacansoleil).
Hesjedal's Garmin-Barracuda team-mates doing most of the work but they have found some collaboration from Katusha.
The lead of the escape group is now 9:30.
The Colle Molella climb to the lake ends at an altitude of 1087m high, is 9.9km long, with an average gradient of 6.0% gradient. After leaving Bagnoli Irpino, the first part of the climb includes several hairpins with gradients of between 10% and 12%.
A big lead for the escape but the final 50km are tough. The route covers winding roads with continuous twists and turns up to Montella and the last 15km climbs steeply to the Lake Laceno plateau before the final four kilometers on flat roads.
The leaders are currently going along the main road to Benevento with the intermediate sprint in San Giorgio del Sannio after 164km which is 65km from the finish.
The lead of the four escapees has been reduced to 10:15.
37.8km/h was the speed in the third hour of racing.
The Giro d’Italia has finished at Lake Laceno twice in the past. In 1976 Roger De Vlaeminck won the stage. In 1998 Switzerland’s Alex Zuelle distanced Marco Pantani and Michele Bartoli on the climb to the finish.
Andy Hampsten was the first rider from the USA to wear the pink jersey in 1988, while Cadel Evans was the first Australian in pink in 2002.
Riders from 22 different countries have now lead the race. Lucien Petit Breton of France was the first non-Italian rider to lead the Giro in 1911. The pink jersey was introduced in 1931 and Germany’s Hermann Buse was the first non-Italian to wear the iconic race leader’s jersey in 1932.
A reminder of our lead group: Julien Berard (FRA/Ag2r), Miguel Minguez (ESP / Euskaltel), Andrey Amador (CRC / Movistar) and Tomasz Marczynski (POL /Vacansoleil). They are now 11 minutes ahead of the peloton.
"I raced mountain bikes at a high level until 2004 and then a chance to ride on the road with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team. I have been my best in the last week of Tour de France, so I hope to be one of the strongest in last week at the Giro d’Italia. There is a lot to win and to lose but I hope to be in good shape. I’m the first Canadian in the pink jersey and I think quite a few Canadians will be excited,” added the race leader.
Hesjedal said: “It’s unreal to pull on the maglia rosa. The team was behind me 100% on the run in to the climb. Pete Stetina and Christian Vande Velde were never far from my side and Vande Velde put me in final position on the final approach. I just had to go for it and it went perfectly. This pink jersey is a product of good strong team work."
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) is the first Canadian to wear the Giro d’Italia race leader’s pink jersey. Hesjedal leads Paolo Tiralongo by just 15 seconds, with Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team) third at 17 seconds.
36.6km/h was the speed of the second hour.
Marczynski (Vacansoleil) is first at the Valico di Macerone.
The riders have been crossing the Piano delle Cinque Miglia plateau with the first categorised climb the cat-4 Valico di Macerone fast approaching.
The lead of the escapees has blown out to nine minutes.
35.6 km/h was the speed in the opening hour.
The sun was shining in Sulmona this morning but rain showers are possible during the stage, with a temperature of 19 degrees centigrade expected for the finish at Lake Laceno.
The lead is out to 5:15 and the man from Costa Rica is the virtual race leader. Here are the GC positions of the escapees: 26th Andrey Amador (MOV) +1:16; 67th Julien Berard (ALM) +6:00; 103rd Tomasz Marczynski (VCD) +21:19; 190th Miguel Minguez (EUS) +1:08:12
Andrey Amador (MOV), Julien Berard (ALM), Tomasz Marczynski (VCD) and Miguel Minguez are in an escape and have gained 2:45 on the peloton.
News of two abandons - Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) did not start because of a fever and Dennis van Winden (Rabobank) has quit with a knee problem.
Tiralongo said: "I don’t think I’m a campione or a great rider. I’m a good rider who works hard and helps his team leaders. I’m here to work for the team and won’t get big headed during the rest of the race. To be honest, I consider last year’s win at Macugnaga better than this one. Last year Alberto Contador let me win but I won in front of him. He’s a friend and I want to dedicate this stage to him because of what he’s going through.”
No early breaks. Yesterday a last-minute lunge for the line at the Rocca di Cambio summit finish earned Italian climber Paolo Tiralongo a narrow victory over compatriot Michele Scarponi on the seventh stage.
We can expect an early breakaway but the real fireworks will come with the ascent of the cat-2 Colle Molella, a 9.9km climb with an average gradient of 6% whose summit is just 4km from the finish.
Canada's Ryder Hesjedal is the overall leader heading into the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia, a mountainous 229km trek from Sulmona to Lago Laceno. I'm Lee Walker and I will be your guide to today's stage. You can follow me on Twitter @Lee_Eurosport