Mikel Nieve enjoyed another solid day in the saddle on his way to 23rd place at the end of the Giro d'Italia's first back-to-back stages in the mountains. The Euskaltel team leader stayed with the group of favurites on the road to Lago Laceno to conclude a satisfactory weekend of racing for the team.
Much of the day was about another rider in orange though. Miguel Minguez spent the majority of 229km stage in the break of the day - his second time doing so in this year's edition. The Bilbao native jumped clear after some 30 kilometres of racing along with Movistar's classy Andrey Amador, Vacansoleil's Polish champ Tomasz Marczynski and Ag2r's Julien Bérard. The climber looked to be one of the strongest of the quartet, but somehow, seemingly out of the blue, was dropped when Marczynski upped the pace. Minguez has now accumulated 308 kilometres off the front - only three other riders have done more. With the "real" mountains yet to come, you sense he'll add to that tally in the not too distant future.
Euskaltel had Nieve, Izagirre and Velasco in the steadily diminishing lead group going into the last climb, but the latter two found the pace a wee bit too hot and dropped off towards the top, eventually going on to finish 29th and 31st respectively in the second group, 1:24 in arrears. They seem to be lacking that tiny bit extra that would enable them to stay with Nieve and help him out in the moments that really matter, but, again, the mountains are yet to arrive on the horizon.
Speaking post-race, Nieve was content with the day's work, but said the heat was taking its toll.
"The high temperatures and the terrain are hurting the peloton", he explained to www.fundacioneuskadi.com. "My legs are starting to tire. The last few days have been tough, and the warmth is partly to blame. I hope the coming days will be a bit easier - they're mainly flat, so hopefully we can "recover" some energy".
Stage eight results:
- (1, Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago - CSF Inox), 6:06:05
- 23, Mikel Nieve, 0:27
- 29, Jon Izagirre, 1:14
- 31, Iván Velasco, s.t.
- 61, Amets Txurruka, 5:24
- 104, Juan José Oroz, 14:39
- 147, Pierre Cazaux, 19:16
- 148, Víctor Cabedo, 20:10
- 180, Miguel Minguez, 21:16
- 182, Adrián Sáez, s.t.
On GC, Mikel Nieve is 42nd at 3:18.
Full results here.
Full results here.