Siutsou takes Giro 8th stage, Di Luca holds on to pink jersey

Belarussian Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia, pictured) won the eighth stage of the Tour of Italy, while Italian Danilo Di Luca (LPR) held on to the pink jersey. Spaniard Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) was taken to hospital after a heavy fall.


AFP - Belarussian Kanstantsin Siutsou handed the Columbia team their third victory of the centenary Tour of Italy when he won the 209km eighth stage from Morbegno to Bergamo on Saturday.

Race leader Danilo Di Luca retained the race leader's pink jersey, taking his advantage over Swede Thomas Lovkvist to 13sec after sprinting to third place.

The efforts of Di Luca, the Giro champion in 2007, prevented a podium sweep for on-form Columbia, for whom Australian Michael Rogers finished fourth, and gave him eight bonus seconds to add to his five-second overnight lead on Lovkvist.

Siutsou broke clear with 15km to race and held off the fast finishing remnants of the peloton to win in 5hr 04min 34sec.

Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen took second behind his team-mate 21 seconds back just a day after winning his maiden stage on the race.

Columbia also won the race's opening stage, a team time trial which put the pink jersey on the shoulders of their main sprinter, Manxman Mark Cavendish.

The day was made for a long breakaway and around the 40km mark a group of 10 riders managed to start putting some daylight between themselves and the field.

They opened up a maximum lead of 4min 30sec but on the penultimate climb of the day they were swallowed up by the peloton.

The 6.3km long Colle del Gallo, just over 30km from home, saw an interesting move from some of the top GC contenders with Astana's Levi leipheimer, 2004 champion Damiano Cunego of Lampre, Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas, Rogers and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) amongst them.

They had opened up a 54sec gap on the bunch by the top of the climb, which had seen the peloton disintegrate to around 30 riders.

At that point Rogers, who began the day in third place at 36sec from Di Luca, was the virtual leader on the road but Di Luca's LPR team led a determined chase on the descent ahead of the final short Bergamo Alta climb.

The chase was successful and reeled in the escapees but almost immediately Siutsou jumped clear.

He pulled out a gap of 40sec before clinging on all the way to the line on the final 3.5km descent.

Sunday's eighth stage, a pancake flat 165k of racing on 10 laps of a Milan city circuit, could finish in a bunch sprint, with Cavendish among those tipped for the stage win.

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