PESARO, Italy (AP) — Caleb Ewan of Australia sprinted to victory on the eighth and longest stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, while Italian cyclist Valerio Conti remained the overall leader.
Ewan, who rides for Lotto-Soudal, edged Elia Viviani and Pascal Ackermann in a bunch sprint at the end of the 239-kilometer (149-mile) leg from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro.
“Determination and the help of the team made me a winner today,” Ewan said. “We’ve been trying for seven days to get this win. I’m just so happy.
“I wanted to be first in the last corner but it was still a long way away so it worked better to get out of Ackermann’s wheel. I knew I had a good kick and I went around him.”
Conti, who has worn the pink jersey since finishing second on Thursday’s sixth stage, remained one minute, 32 seconds ahead of Jose Rojas and 1:41 ahead of Giovanni Carboni.
“It was a hard finale because of dangerous downhills,” Conti said. “But I have a big team and I was well protected.”
Sunday’s ninth stage is the only time the Giro crosses into another country as it visits the republic of San Marino briefly for the uphill finish of the 35-kilometer time trial from Riccione.
That could mark the start of the real fight for overall victory, as every second lost will be tough to pull back when the race heads into the mountains.
“I will keep the maglia rosa also tomorrow after the time trial,” Conti added with confidence.
That day is also the race’s “wine stage” as it celebrates the red Sangiovese wines of the area.
The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.
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