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2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 8 Preview

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What happened on stage 7

Diego Ulissi won his fourth stage in the Corsa Rosa, this being his first victory since serving a nine-month ban for salbutamol. After the longest day (264 kilometers) of this year’s Giro d’Italia, the Italian rider of Lampre-Merida outpowered Juan Jose Lobato and Simon Gerrans in Fiuggi, before being overwhelmed by huge emotions thanks to this liberating win.

What comes now

Stage 8, which takes the pack from Fiuggi to Campitello Matese (186 kilometers), is marked by the lengthy climbs of the two KOMs: Forca d’Acero (26 kilometers with a 5% slope) and Campitello Matese (13 kilometers, with ramps of 6,9%). After the start, the route hits Alatri, Veroli and Sora on largely flat roads. This is where the long Forca d’Acero climb begins, leading first to Abruzzo, and then fast to Molise. Along and easy-to-ride descent leads to Isernia along the new ss. 17 express way, which features a series of tunnels. Past Isernia, a further stretch on wide and slightly hilly road leads to the Campitello Matese climb.

The final ascent is 13 kilometers in length, and after the first deceptive false-flat drag, the route gets to the town of San Massimo with gradients of approximately 10%, then it takes the road leading to the finish (large, well-surfaced and with wide hairpin bends extending up to one kilometer from the finish). Starting from the last kilometer, the road descends slightly up to 250 meters from the finish. Here the road levels out on the home straight, on 6.5-m wide asphalt road.

Fabio Aru and Richie Porte will try to test Alberto Contador, who has a subluxation of his shoulder after crashing in stage six, so you can bet on the fact that the two of them will attack at some point, the main question being if Contador can hang on. It will also be interesting to see how the Spaniard’s team will react on the last ascent, considering it was below-par in some key moments of the race so far, after a very powerful start to the race. Besides these three, other cyclists to watch out for are Rigoberto Uran, Darwin Atapuma and Giovanni Visconti, who’s had a very impressive first week.

Campitello Matese is going to host a Giro d’Italia stage for just the seventh time in history. Most recent visit here was recorded in 2002, when Gilberto Simon won ahead of Francesco Casagrande and Franco Pellizotti, while 37-year-old Jens Heppner kept the pink jersey he was helding since stage seven.

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