Benat Intxausti (Movistar) soloed to victory on stage eight of the Giro d’Italia on the Campitello Matese as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) braved the pain to retain his overall lead.
Intxausti stayed clear after a day in the breakaway, attacking in the last four kilometres, to earn a second career win at the Corsa Rosa.
Contador, meanwhile, survived late attacks from both Fabio Aru (Astana) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) as all three finished together, alongside Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) and Aru’s team-mate Dario Cataldo.
The day’s break, when it eventually stuck after a frantic opening period, consisted of just four men – Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing).
Intxausti was part of a larger chasing group, which spent a large part of the race attempting to bridge – Pellizotti actually dropping back to the second group after a while.
Still, their efforts looked like they would be in vain until Intxausti and Reichenbach burst off the front.
Back in the bunch, Tinkoff-Saxo marshalled the chase with Contador – though still holding his left arm differently to normal – appearing comfortable.
Up the road, the attacks started – with first Betancur and the Kruijswijk going clear on their own.
Reichenbach and Intxausti continued to press on behind them, however, first catching Vandewalle and then picking off Betancur and Kruijswijk.
On the front of the bunch, Astana had strength in numbers and it was little surprise to see Aru put a dig in off the front and later Mikel Landa attack.
Porte and Contador covered Aru’s attack, but Landa stayed clear as he bid to enhance his own overall standing to further Astana’s options.
Porte also tried an acceleration while Intxausti, up the road, had pushed on alone and quickly put time into the chasers.
Even the attacks and counter-attacks in the pink jersey group failed to close the advantage to Intxausti, who was left to celebrate another Movistar success at the Giro.
Landa and Reichenbach finished second and third respectively, meaning Aru’s sprint to the line did not bring any extra bonus seconds.
Contador told the post-race the shoulder was hurting, but he insisted he remains confident after protecting his overall advantage.
Giro d’Italia 2015: stage eight – result
1) Benat Intxausti (ESP) – Movistar – 4.51.34hrs
2) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Astana +20”
3) Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI) – IAM Cycling +31”
4) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +35”
5) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo – ST
6) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky
7) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Etixx-QuickStep
8) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Astana
9) Damiano Cunego (ITA) – Nippo-Vini Fantini +45”
10) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing – ST
1) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo – 32.40.07hrs
2) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +4”
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky +22”
4) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Astana +30”
5) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Astana +42”
6) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff-Saxo +1.00
7) Giovanni Visconti (ITA) – Movistar +1.16
8) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Etixx-QuickStep +1.24
9) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing +1.34
10) Andrey Amador (CRC) – Movistar +1.38