16/05/15 - 6:05 PM
Fiuggi - Campitello Matese
Giro d'Italia • Stage8

Fiuggi - Campitello Matese
Giro d'Italia - 16 May 2015

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:05 on 16 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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The Big Four cross the line in the same group, 35 seconds down on the winner. Aru is fourth, followed by Contador, Porte and Uran. No change at the top then - in fact, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) even doubles his lead to four seconds after picking up those bonus seconds in the first intermediate sprint.


Landa takes second place for Astana ahead of Reichenbach of IAM Cycling.


Victory for Benat Intxausti of Movistar, who claps and then waves at the crowd before crossing the line with his arms raised.


Cunego attacks from the group of main favourites - too little, too late...


Intxausti looks strong and will probably win this. Back with the favourites, it's a game of stalemate.


Landa has now caught both Vandewalle and Kruijswijk - just Intxausti to go now. 40 seconds separate the Spaniards, with the pack 20 seconds further back.


Porte also has Nieve as well as Konig, so Contador and Uran are very isolated as a main pack of a dozen riders forms. On the fornt of the race, Intxausti has attacked. The Spaniard from Movistar now leads - but he only has 45 seconds to play with.


Kruijswijk has been caught by Reichenbach and Intxausti - but they only have one minute over the main pack.


It's not Cataldo, but Landa - and now the Spaniard breaks clear in a slight lull. A good move for Astana, who will have a rider up the road now for Aru. And Cataldo is back with the Italian now, as is Leopold Konig for Porte.


Tanel Kangert is setting a fierce pace for Aru, with Cataldo and Landa also there. And now Aru goes! Cataldo stays with him, as does Contador, Porte and Uran...


Vandewalle is actually still second on the road, just 25 seconds down on Kruijswijk. But the duo of Intxausti and Reichenbach are about to catch the Belgian.


Mick Rogers has gone, so Contador only has Kreuziger. Further up, Intxausti is really struggling to keep up with Reichenbach.


Paolo Tiralongo grinds to a halt after a solid shift for Astana, leaving Aru - in the white jersey - with three team-mates. The pink jersey of Contador rides in fifth position ahead of team-mates Rogers and Kreuziger and Sky's Richie Porte. The gap is down to 2:40.


Uran is there for Etixx and Chaves for GreenEdge. Betancur has been caught by Reichenbach and Intxausti. The Colombian is really pedalling squares now. Kruijswijk has 1:05 over the chasing duo (who have now passed Vandewalle too) and three minutes over the main pack.


Five Astana team-mates for Aru, whereas Contador only has Rogers and Kreuziger after Basso dropped back for Tinkoff-Saxo. Porte has three Sky team-mates for now. Further up the road, Vandewalle has dropped Betancur.


Franco Pellizotti has been caught by the pack now. He should never have dropped back from the leading trio earlier in the stage.


The gap back to the Astana-driven peloton is only 3:20 for Kruijswijk so the win is far from in the pocket. Rigoberto Uran is quite far back in this streamlined pack, but the Colombian looks fairly comfortable.


Fabio Aru is totally deadpan. Remember, he entered this race in poor form and ill - so it's not just Contador who's at a disadvantage. Intxausti and Reichenbach are 1:25 down on the lone leader, whose winter training on Mount Teide in Tenerife is paying off.


Big acceleration from Betancur - but Kruijswijk keeps his cool, reels him in and then passes. Vandewalle looks to be struggling. Further back, it's Intxausti and Reichenbach who now lead the chase following that dig from Zakarin.


Kriujswijk, Intxausti, Pellizotti, Niemiec and even Betancur are solid climbers, so it's no guarantee that they won't stay out. And it's Cakarin who tries the first dig from the chasing group, sparking some movement behind.


The leaders are on the first ramps of the climb with a gap of 1:37 over the chasing group. The pink jersey group is now just 4:20 down.


We're almost onto the final Cat.1 climb to Campitello Matese now, which is 13km long at an average gradient of 6.9% and a maximim gradient of 12%. It's the hardest of the race so far - much dearer than the rise to Abetone. It's showtime.


Tinkoff-Saxo came forward momentarily but it's Astana again now, with BMC and Sky priming themselves too. The gap is 5:40.


Astana are driving the peloton on at a ferocious pace, tailing off numerous riders in the process. The gap is 5:55 for the three leaders, who have 1:20 over the chasing nine riders.


And there's the answer: Astana move to the front of the peloton and have taken up the chase. Remember, they have three riders in the top ten in Aru, Dario Cataldo and Mikel Landa, and they could pull off something beautiful today. Expect the gap for the break to start to tumble. It's already down to 6:15 now.


The riders are onto that small climb before the final climb to the finish. It will be interesting to see if Contador is attacked by his rivals Aru and Porte today. They know he's injured, but there's only so much sporting fairplay you can give. Today will be an opportunity for both Astana and Sky to isolate Tinkoff-Saxo and tee up their men to damage the Spaniard out there.


The gap is down to seven minutes now for the leaders. The nine chasing riders are combining well but still trailing the trio by 55 seconds. Kruijswijk has been out the longest and was joined by Betancur and then Vandewalle on the descent of that last categorised climb.


The peloton is really stretched out now - and unlike yesterday, they're ahead of schedule because of the fast pace. The three leaders have about 40 seconds over the other escapees and now less than eight minutes over the pack. It's turning into a lovely day now, with the sun out and the road drying out fast.


It's back to Tinkoff-Saxo on the front, with Astana behind and then two columns of Sky and CCC Sprandi riders. Kruijswick takes the intermediate sprint at Isernia ahead of Vandewalle and Betancur - but it's not contested. They have bigger fish to fry, what with one more small climb looming ahead of the final Cat.1 slog to the finish.


Betancur's back wheel skids a little on a tight left-hander, sparking Vandewalle to take a wider line. With wet roads like this, the riders will have to take some precautions out there or we could see a few spills.


Eurosport pundit Juan Antonio Flecha believes the break will now stay out to the end. The gap is eight minutes and there are some decent climbers in this group, so he's probably right.


There's a little debate going on between Betancur and Kruijswijk. The Colombian seems to think that they should sit up and wait for the other escapees, but the Dutchman looks bent on continuing as they are. The gap is back up to one minute for these three riders, with the peloton riding at 8:07.


The rain has stopped and the sun is out now - which will mean another clothing change, which will be an annoyance to Contador, for whom taking layers on and off is very tricky following that dislocated shoulder.


The chasing group are finally working together as they reduce the gap to 15 seconds. Pellizotti was probably wise to drop back and take a break - the leading trio aren't exactly going anywhere. It's 8:30 for the leaders now over the peloton.


There's a few heated exchanged going on in the chasing group - the lead came down to just eight seconds, but then it stretched out again, sparking tempers to fray. Pellizotti has been dropped by the leading trio and now rides with the other escapees about 20 seconds down.


The rain is really pounding down now! Even Alberto Contador has put on his yellow gilet. It's not a rain cape, so there's a pink strip of his maglia rosa showing between his shoulders and his elbows. He does not look happy. Ivan Basso and Roman Kreuziger look back, and the Spaniard puts his thumbs up, but his face says another story. You sense that he will really struggle on the final climb today.


And it's started to rain again... the eight chasers - including virtual maglia rosa Niemiec - are just 25 seconds down on the four leaders - Kruijswijk, Betancur, Pellizotti and Vandewalle.


Steven Kruijswijk, who rode solo for a large part of today's stage, takes off his arm warmers now that the lion's share of this stuttered descent is over. Winner of the Arctic Race of Norway last season, the 27-year-old finished 8th in the Giro in 2011 but has struggled to replicate that form in the years since.


Vandewalle has joined the three leaders so we have a Belgian, a Dutchman, an Italian and a Colombian on the front of the race with a one-minute lead over eight chasers. The peloton are at 9:20 with Nippo-Vini Fantini sharing the load with Tinkoff-Saxo.


But the virtual maglia rosa on the road is that man Przemyslaw Niemiec of Lampre-Merida: the Pole started today's stage 5:10 down on Contador in the GC in 27th place. He stands to make some gains today - but it will be a surprise if he holds onto the gap he needs to wear pink. We will see...


Alberto Contador started today with a 2-second lead over Fabio Aru and 20 seconds over Richie Porte of Team Sky. But he extended that lead in the first intermediate sprint when picking up two bonus seconds. A small victory, perhaps, but the Spaniard will take any silver lining he can get right now. He leads Aru by 4 seconds now and Porte by 22.


We have three small climbs and longer descents ahead of the final ascent to Campitello Matese. You sense that the escapees are now beginning to believe that one of them could stand atop the podium today.


The gap is up to nine minutes now for the three leaders, who are about to be caught by the other escapees. There's a real chance that this one could stay clear right to the end - it just depends when the big race favourites take it up. The first rider to catch the leaders will be Kristof Vandevalle of Trek, who is riding ahead of the others.


We now have three riders in the lead after Betancur and Pellizotti managed to bridge the gap to Kruijswijk. They lead the other nine escapees by 40 seconds. Meanwhile, the Vini Fantini team of Damiano Cunego have come to the front of the pack to lead the chase. They missed the split today and are not in the break - hence this move. But they're only making it easier for Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana for now.


Kriujswijk has eight minutes now over the Tinkoff-Saxo-led peloton - although he's about to be caught by Betancur and Pellizotti.


All the Tinkoff-Saxo riders have put on their gilets for this descent - except Contador, who has yellow arm warmers and his pink jersey on top. He said before the stage that he would have to stop to put on his gilet if need be - because of the pain of doing so with his shoulder.


Zakarin's attack was short-lived, the Russian reeled in my the other escapees before they went over the summit. Kriujswijk could well be in the blue mountains jersey tonight because the current leader, Jan Polanc, did not make the break today.


Over the top of the Cat.2 Forca d'Acero climb goes Steven Kriujswijk. Behind him, Zacharin has attacked from the chase group in a bid to join Pellizotti and Betancur and, perhaps, take some KOM points.


Pink jersey Alberto Contador has all eight of his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates with him now on the front of the peloton - which shows how much the pace has slowed since the riders hit this climb. As such, lone leader Kruijswijk has been able to stretch out his lead to 7:25 as he nears the summit.


Almost seven minutes for Steven Kruijswijk over the peloton now, with chasing duo Pellizotti and Betancur two minutes back and around 25 seconds ahead of the other nine escapees.


ATTACK: Franco Pellizotti has decided to take the chase into his own hands and edges clear of his fellow escapees, taking only Carlos Betancur with him.


The riders are well onto the first climb of the day now, and the rain jackets have come off because mercifully it's stopped raining. Lone leader Kruijswijk has 6:30 over the pack, with the chasing group about three minutes behind. Tinkoff-Saxo lead the peloton with six riders and the magla rosa. Astana are tucked in just behind.


Full composition of the chasing group: Franco Pellizotti (Androni Sidermec), Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF), Branislav Samoilau (CCC Sprandi Polkowitz), Sebastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Benat Intxausti (Movistar), Mauro Finetto (Southeast), Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing) and Carlos Betancur (Ag2R-La Mondiale).


Carlos Betancur (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Franco Pellizotti (Androni Sidermec) are in the chasing group, as well as the likes of Niemiec, Intxausti, Danielson and Tour of Romandie winner Ilnur Zacharin (Katusha).


Steven Kruijswijk started the race as LottoNL-Jumbo's main man for GC but he's more than 10 minutes down and so he's been given licence to roam today. The Dutchman has 11 riders in pursuit - names coming up.


Approaching the start of the Forca d'Acero climb and lone leader Kruijswijk has opened up a lead of five minutes over the main maglia rosa pack. The rain has eased up a little too.


There were reports coming through that Contador was not in this first group - it's very hard to see his pink jersey because of the rain jackets and this foul weather. It has since been confirmed that he is there - although devoid of a few of his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates already. One rider has managed to break clear though - Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo.


It's pretty frantic and chaotic out there. That group has been caught and the fast pace has seen the peloton split in two, with a first group of around 60 riders - which contains all the favourites as far as we can see - riding about a minute ahead of the rest of the pack. We're yet to start the first climb so it goes to show just how brutal today's stage may well be...


The lead is pretty slender for those escapees - just around 30 seconds at present.


Nine men out in the lead after 15km of racing. They are: Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni), Branislau Samoilau (CCC), Roger Kluge (IAM), Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Soudal), Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Eduard Grosu (Nippo Fantini), Elia Favilli (SouthEast), Thomas Danielsoln (Cannondale Garmin) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha).


A cluster of riders - including Tom Danielson of Cannondale-Garmin - have managed to break clear. No concern for Tinkoff-Saxo - they're more worried about the rain, which will make things tricky for the injured race leader.


The riders rolled out of Fiuggi this morning with leg and arm warmers and jackets - it was a cold and wet start for this stage, which includes two high category climbs. The first climb, the Cat.2 Forca d'Acerto, is 30km long but not too testing - although the Astana team of Fabio Aru, second on GC by just 2 seconds, will no doubt test Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates after yesterday's quasi-truce. We finish with the 16km Cat.1 climb to the summit with has an average gradient of around 7%.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia - an undulading ride that concludes with a summit finish at Campitello Matese. After a largely uneventful stage to Fiuggi yesterday, this one should revive the battle for GC and test race leader Alberto Contador, still raw and untested after dislocating his shoulder two days ago...