Irish rookie claims first Giro stage win after a 52-km solo breakaway. Roglic, Thomas and Geoghegan reclaim 14’’ on Evenepoel on the eve of the second individual time trial. Leknessund retains the lead by 8’’.
After missing out on his goal to wear the Maglia Rosa in the first week, the revelation of the Spring Classics Ben Healy bounced back as a stage winner after a long solo effort. His former breakaway companions Derek Gee and Filippo Zana rounded out the stage podium while it was an action packed end of stage 8 for GC as Primoz Roglic rode Remco Evenepoel off on the second ascent to I Cappuccini. Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas came across to the Slovenian to cross the line 14 seconds before the Belgian and 34 seconds ahead of Andreas Leknessund who retained the Maglia Rosa by a mere eight seconds.
Speaking in the press conference, the stage winner Ben Healy said: “I’ve ridden strongly since the start of the season. Honestly it was a bit of a gamble to come to the Giro after a small break but I came super fresh. I’m not quite at the level I was in in the Ardennes classics but I had very good legs today. I missed out on my first goal which was to win stage 4 and take the Maglia Rosa. Sometimes I get too excited and I need to kind of sit back and reset. It helped me for today. I had put a cross on this stage on the Garibaldi [the road book]. After I broke away solo, I tried to pace well. I went into the last climb with two minutes lead and the crowd helped me tremendously up there. I’ve always enjoyed racing in Italy. I needed to be alone. If you ride solo, the victory is guaranteed. That’s always what I want to do.”