Belgium’s Thomas de Gendt rides during the eighth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 200 kilometers (125 miles) with start in Macon and finish in Saint Etienne, France, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
- Saturday’s Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia (May 15) is ripe for an opportunistic attacker
- While Stage 8 has a lot of climbing, it isn’t particularly difficult terrain
- Can we find a longshot with value as the Giro reaches Guardia Sanframondi?
In a shocker to nobody, Friday’s sprint finish in State 7 was won by Caleb Ewan. He beat predictable challengers Davide Cimolai and Tim Merlier. On Saturday, the sprinters shouldn’t be a factor when riders navigate 170 kilometres, including 3,400 vertical metres between Foggia and Guardia Sanframondi
Though GC riders can certainly be in the mix when racing begins Saturday (6:40 am ET), and climbers should do well, with just one Category 2 climb two-thirds through the course, and a Cat 4 at the end, there is an opportunity for attackers to breakaway and hide.
There is no real Stage 8 favorite, which makes it a fun day to handicap and wager on. Let’s look at several reasonable options including a couple price plays.
Stage 8 Giro d’Italia Odds
|Rider||Odds to Win Stage||Top-3 Finish Odds at DraftKings|
|Luis Leon Sanchez||+2200||+500|
|Gino Mader David Dekker||+2500||+600|
|Alessandro de Marchi||+2500||+600|
|Thomas De Gendt||+2800||+800|
|Mikkel Frolich Honore||+3300||+900|
Odds as of May 14th.
There are no easy days on Grand Tours, particularly in the mountains. That said, Saturday does not feature any overly testing periods of racing. There is probably too much climbing for sprinters, and not enough difficult climbing for GC riders to go, since gaining a large advantages is very unlikely. That makes it wide open, and you wonder who is feeling good and opportunistic.
Ewan timed his run perfectly and won Stage 7 rather easily. His fifth stage win at the Giro and second this year came after Fernando Gaviria made an early move and tried to steal the sprint. Ewan jumped on his wheel and launched off it for the victory.
Friday produced no movement in the GC standings. Atilla Valter holds an 11-second lead over Remco Evenepoel with Egan Bernal 16 ticks behind Valter. Aleksandr Vlasov is in fourth place, 24 seconds behind the leader, and Louis Vervaeke is a second behind Vlasov in fifth position.
2021 UEFA Champions League Odds Tracker
This is just the third Grand Tour for Ruben Guerreiro. The 26-year old competed in his first Giro last year and won the Mountains Classification.
Guerreiro won Stage 9 in Roccaraso last year. This stage resembles that one a tad.
Tuscan native Alberto Bettiol is racing in just his second Giro, and first since 2016. He has participated in three recent editions of the Tour de France.
He won the Tour of Flanders in 2019, and has a versatile style that could be a big benefit on Saturday.
Diego Ulissi has won eight stages of the Giro including two last year.
Ulissi had a really strong 2020, winning the Tour de Luxembourg, and finishing second in the Tour Down Under, and 2nd Gran Piemonte. He got on the podium at the Giro dell’Emilia too.
You don’t usually get a square price on top GC contenders. The odds are tempting in Stage 8 on Bernal and Evenepoel because on paper this doesn’t look like a day for either to try and make a huge move. That said, if top riders are feeling strong, or sense weakness, or just want to flex muscles, you never know when they might attack.
When it comes to riders who pick their spots, Thomas De Gendt is among the best. He has won stages on each Grand Tour and Friday’s route feels like one he could try to steal.
Last year De Gendt won the Combativity Classification at the Giro d’Italia.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.