Victor Lafay claims first ever stage win as Attila Valter retains Giro d'Italia lead
Frenchman bags his first professional win and a first for Cofidis at the Giro in 11 years
Frenchman Victor Lafay of Cofidis won stage eight of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday as Groupama-FDJ rider Attila Valter kept hold of the overall race lead.
The chief contenders for the 21-stage race, Egan Bernal and Remco Evenepoel, finished together on the eve of a major mountain-top finish on Sunday when a shake up is expected.
Lafay bagged his first professional win and a first for Cofidis at the Giro in 11 years after joining a long range escape group of nine riders.
This group opened a seven-minute gap over the main peloton on the chief difficulty of the day, a 20km climb known as the Boca della Selva.
Lafay, 25, kept his powder dry before pulling away with ease on the final shorter climb through olive groves and vineyards to Sanframondi.
"It was difficult to get away, but the peloton allowed us seven minutes, that kind of climb is where I'm best so I just waited for my moment," said Lafay.
Simon Yates, Romain Bardet and Aleksandr Vlasov crossed the line four minutes and 48 seconds later, with Bernal and Evenepoel leaving the race poised for Sunday's showdown ahead of Monday's first rest day.
Valter, 22, will race a third day in the overall leader's pink jersey and the Hungarian is embracing the challenge of trying to defend his lead.
"There were fans shouting my name and it'll be great to ride in the lead one more day, tomorrow will be really, really hard for sure," said Valter, who holds an 11-second advantage over Evenepoel.
Australian Caleb Ewan pulled out of the Giro some 35km into the eighth stage, having been dropped by the main pack in the early running and complaining of a sore knee.
The 26-year-old Lotto Soudal leader won the fifth stage earlier in the week and stage seven on Friday, and was leading the sprint points classification.
Published: May 15, 2021 08:14 PM