Giro 2022: Preview stage 8 to Napoli

The very tough stage to Potenza will have been a bit of a struggle for the riders in the peloton of the Giro d’Italia, but it will be race again on Saturday. The eighth stage has a start and finish in the world famous Naples, better known as Napoli, and the route is strewn with calf biters. Unconsciously, this ride will cause a lot of damage, something someone like Mathieu van der Poel enjoys. Will he take his second stage win in Naples? CyclingFlash looks ahead.

trail

The eighth stage in the Giro will be held around Naples and has a local circuit of 19.2 kilometers as its center of gravity, which has to be ridden a total of five times. A stage of the Giro d’Italia last finished in 2013 in Naples, when Mark Cavendish won in the sprint.

From the start in Naples, the peloton heads north towards the coastal town of Lago Patria. Here is the first intermediate sprint after more than 37 kilometers. The trail then veers south and continues along the coast towards the western peninsula of Naples. Here the riders will start five local rounds.

In the village of Bacoli looms five times the Monte di Procida (1.5 kilometers at 6.8%) on. This climb is relatively short in length, but on average it climbs at a substantial percentage. The sequence will certainly continue in the peloton after five laps. The second climb in the local circuit is the one to the More from Lucrinu (600 meters at 9.4%) and is very suitable for explosive riders.

After the last intermediate sprint at the foot of the Monte di Procida – where mountain points can be earned on the last passage – the riders leave the local circuit and head towards the finish place Naples. From that last intermediate sprint it’s another 40 kilometers to the finish on Via Francesco Caraccioli on the Gulf of Naples.

At 13 kilometers from the finish there is another climb of 3.4 kilometers that is very irregular. There are strips of more than 10%, but the average is only 4.7%. At the top there are still ten kilometers to the finish in Naples and you have to pay attention immediately for the riders. The first part of the descent is very technical and has a number of hairpin bends.

Recognized fallers can try to put pressure on their competitors here. Nevertheless, the end of the ride has few surprises. The last kilometer in Naples on the Via Francesco Caraccioli starts with a big 180-degree turn-back, but then mainly goes straight along the coast. The riders will then have completed 2,130 vertical meters.

This stage is suitable for refugees in advance and there is a chance that they will receive a safe conduct. A day later, it is the tough mountain stage to Blockhaus, where the riders are back in the race for the pink jersey.

Napoli is more of a football city than a cycling city. The number of Neapolitan cyclists is therefore not high. However, one rider stands out: Salvatore Commesso. This Italian was also called ‘the candy box of Naples’, thanks to the belly with which he sometimes appeared at the start as soon as the post-season was over. Commesso won one stage in both the 1999 and 2000 Tour, and won the Italian road championship twice.

Unofficial start: 1.35 pm
Official start: 1.40 pm
Finish: between 5 pm and 5:25 pm
Distance: 153 kilometers

Timetable important passages:
Intermediate sprint Lago Patria: between 14.25 and 14.30
Intermediate sprint Bacoli: between 4.15 pm and 4.30 pm
Passage Monte di Procida: between 4.20 pm and 4.35 pm


Favorites

This stage has Mathieu van der Poel written all over it. That’s what the English would say when they look at the route of this eighth stage. So many short hills in succession, which are no longer than 3.5 kilometers. Ideal for Mathieu van der Poel† The leader of Alpecin-Fenix ​​handed over the pink jersey on Etna and spared himself the following days. On Friday he was very active on his way to Potenza, but missed the flight of the day.

Will we get a new duel between Girmay and Van der Poel? – photo: Cor Vos

It shows that Van der Poel has really set his sights on one of these stages. It’s okay with its shape and from MVDP we know he can win in different ways. On this terrain he can get rid of all competitors with a blistering acceleration, but if it comes to a sprint in the streets of Naples, he can also finish it. On the other hand: all eyes will be on Van der Poel.

The stage seems too tough for the good climbing sprinters. Caleb Ewan managed to hold his own on a five kilometer climb in the opening stage to Visegrád, but constant up and down seems to be too difficult for him. In addition to Van der Poel, it is therefore looking forward to Biniam Girmay, the number two of that first leg. The talent from Eritrea can cross the hills. He proved that this spring and also in this Giro. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will also not shy away from making the race hard and making it a sprint with a thinned group, because that situation is also in Girmay’s favor.

Magnus Cort (right) – photo: Cor Vos

Magnus Cort is another big contender. The Dane from EF Education-EasyPost is explosive and can handle these kinds of hills very well. Cort will dare to wait for the sprint of a considerably thinned peloton, but also throws himself in a breakaway. He is often the fastest of the group. In various ways he managed to win no fewer than three stages in the Vuelta a España last season. A Giro stage is still missing from Cort’s palmares, after he previously triumphed in the Tour (1 time) and the Vuelta (6 times).

UAE Emirates has a candidate for a good final classification with João Almeida, but that does not mean that the team is racing defensively. In the stage to Potenza, Davide Formolo was part of the break of the day. For the hill stage to Naples we will at least write the name of Diego Ulissic on. The 32-year-old Italian has already won eight stages in the Giro and would like to add a ninth to that. In Visegrád he finished eighth, so his form is good. And for stages like this we can certainly call Ulissi a specialist.

Diego Ulissi booked his eighth stage win in the Giro in 2020 – photo: Cor Vos

Formolo was in the flight Friday, but also Alessandro Covic showed himself in the opening phase on the outposts. The 23-year-old Covi has emerged as a puncheur this spring. He achieved his first two professional victories this season in the Vuelta a Murcia, where he stayed out of the hands of a favorite group after a difficult race, and the Ruta del Sol. There, the Italian managed to finish on a steep finish ahead of Miguel Ángel López and Iván Ramiro Sosa. Not bad.

If we look further at potential attackers, then Jhonatan Narvaez an interesting name to keep in mind. INEOS Grenadiers is counting on leader Richard Carapaz, but also dares to race offensively. The team already showed that on the way to Potenza. Narvaéz is an explosive driver who has already shown that he can shine in various Flemish races. The stage to Naples can be compared to a solid classic, so we push the Ecuadorian, who finished eleventh in the opening stage, forward. If he wins, it will be his second Giro stage win. In 2020 Narvaéz also won once. Ben Tulett is another contender within the British multi-million dollar formation; the talented Brit is sharp, fast and will hope for a chance of his own.

Some outsiders for the stage victory are Natnael Tesfatsion (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën), Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal). The Eritrean Natnael Tesfatsion is only 22 years old, but already on his second big round. He does get over a hill and has a good sprint, which he proved by finishing eighth in the bunch sprint to Messina. Andrea Vendrame may be called a hill runner. Last year he won – from the flight – a difficult stage with three serious climbs. He can also complete a flight with his fast legs.

Andrea Vendrame – photo: Cor Vos

Mauro Schmid Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl gives you the freedom to attack in stages like this. Sprinter Mark Cavendish has no chance and so the young Swiss, together with Mauri Vansevenant, Pieter Serry and James Knox, can go ahead. Schmid won the Strade Bianche stage to Montalcino last year. Also in that ride it went up and down constantly. Harm Vanhoucke has already shown himself on the offensive several times, but he was not yet in the right flight. Lotto Soudal also has Sylvain Moniquet and Thomas De Gendt in the ranks. Only the climbs do not seem long and difficult enough for Vanhoucke and co to win this stage.

Some names we also want to mention are Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Vincenzo Albanian (EOLO-Kometa), Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan) and Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco). Rota finished fourth in the Clásica San Sebastián last year and fourth in the Trofeo Laigueglia at the beginning of this year, also races with a spicy profile. Albanian in turn manages to get over a hill very well and also has a good sprint in his legs, as witnessed by his many places of honor this season. The perfect combination for the drive to Naples.

Do the favorites look at the overall victory, or also the stage victory? – photo: Cor Vos

What should we do with Alejandro Valverde? On paper, the experienced Spaniard from Movistar should be able to handle this stage. El Imbatido, meanwhile 42 years old, seems to be mainly involved in the battle for the general classification. But if it turns out to be a sprint with an elite group full of favorites for the overall victory, Valverde will be among the fastest. We also include Pello Bilbao in that category. The only question is whether the selection will be so great that only those favorites will remain in the final.

However, we do not expect the favorites in Naples to compete for the stage victory, especially since a very difficult stage is scheduled for Sunday with the double ascent of the Blockhaus, with arrival at the top. Plus, Friday’s ride to Potenza was pretty tough. A refugee group therefore seems the most likely for the stage victory. But if one of the favorites has a difficult day, you can bet that there will be a lot of extra work.


Favorites according to WielerFlits
**** Mathieu van der Poel
*** Biniam Girmay, Magnus Cort
** Diego Ulissi, Andrea Vendrame, Jhonatan Narvaez
* Alessandro Covi, Vincenzo Albanese, Mauro Schmid, Natnael Tesfatsion

Giro 2022: List of participants


Weather and TV

Saturday there will be a stage around Naples with many laps on Monte di Procida. The weather picture again shows a lot of sun and it remains dry, according to Weeronline. The temperature is around 23 degrees and there is a weak to moderate south to southwest wind, force 3.

The broadcasting rights of the Giro d’Italia in the Netherlands and Flanders are in the hands of Eurosport† The stages of the Italian round can be followed every day from start to finish on Eurosport 1 or via Eurosport Player


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