Caleb Ewan wins Giro d'Italia Stage 8 bunch sprint
Italian Valerio Conti of UAE Team Emirates retained the overall leader's pink jersey
Australia's Caleb Ewan celebrated wildly after storming a bunch sprint to win Stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday after coming close to victory three times already in the opening week.
Chief contenders for overall Giro victory, Britain's Simon Yates, form favourite Primoz Roglic, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali and Colombian climber Miguel Angel Lopez all finished in the bunch with the same time on the run from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro.
Italy's Valerio Conti, of the UAE Team Emirates, who took the pink jersey on Stage 6, remains in the overall lead for a third day.
The 24-year-old Ewan, of the Lotto-Soudal team, produced an astonishing burst of power to relegate Italy's Elia Viviani to second and Bora-hansgrohe's Pascal Ackermann, who has two wins on this Giro, to third.
Ewan's new team had spent much of the day keeping tabs on a long range escape, signalling their intent and the powerfully built Sydneysider was overcome with emotion after several near misses so far.
"I have a lot of pressure to win races [since his move from Michelton-Scott] and to win here means the absolute world to me," said Ewan, who had finished in the top five on three occasions in the first seven stages of this year's Giro.
"We have been trying to win every day, and I'm happy to repay the team.
"I wasn't feeling that good, so I waited and had a good kick and came round them [Akermann and Viviani]."
Saturday’s stage saw riders tackle a mammoth 239-kilometre route from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro on the east coast of Italy, and spectators again saw a breakaway go early. They managed to hold off the chasing group until the final 6.5km, where the route started to twist and wind.
It was an anxious finale to the stage, with light rain causing many to question whether it could impact the downhill finish.
The cautious approach to the final hairpins paid off, and a thrilling sprint finish saw Ewan cross the line to take the stage win.
Conti said: “It was a tricky finish today but once again the team did a super job and they kept me out of trouble. Now I will try to relax and rest as much as possible so I can give my best tomorrow in the time trial and honour the pink jersey."
Sunday's stage could prove to be key with a 34.8km individual time-trial awaiting the riders with poor weather and undulating terrain expected on the road to San Marino.
Updated: May 18, 2019 08:23 PM