The 8th stage of the Giro d’Italia was an incredible race for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as our South African Champion, Jaco Venter finished in a fine 4th place, behind stage winner Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quickstep), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale) was 2nd and Moreno Moser (Cannondale) 3rd.
The 186km stage from Foligno to Arezzo didn’t start off in the best way for our African Team as our GC hope, Kanstantsin Siutsou crashed inside the first 6km of the stage. Thankfully Siutsou was able to pick himself up and got back to the peloton with the help of his teammates. After 15km’s of racing, riders started a technical descent while the rain came down. It was here that the break of the day went clear and Venter made the selection with 12 other riders.
The big lead group were able to ride ahead into a 5-minute lead as Giant-Alpecin tried to control the gap. The main feature of the stage was the 6km dirt road climb that topped out with just 19km to go. The break reached the climb with a 3-minute lead and Brambilla rode away from the rest of the break right from the begining of the climb. Venter rode an intelligent race and kept a constantly hard tempo going on the dirt.
Behind, the main group also sprung to life as they reached the climb and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was the one to attack and split the race to pieces. Siutsou did his best to follow the favourites but found himself in the 2nd group for the majority of the climb. Up ahead, Brambilla was out of sight and out of mind while Venter went over the top of the climb with 3 of the other early breakaway riders, the rest were all caught and passed by the Valverde group of favourites.
At the finish, Brambilla took a nice win and also pulled on the pink leader’s jersey for his efforts. Venter was able to hold off the Valverde group on the descent to the finish and crossed the line in a terrific 4th place. Siutsou came home with the 2nd main group and dropped to 17th on the general classification but the top 10 is still only 30 seconds away.
Jaco Venter – Rider
I am super happy about today, it was a hard start. There was storm at the start and I wasn’t planning on going in the break, I was just riding in front to stay safe. I saw some groups going on the downhill and I just followed the wheels and then I was in the group. It was hard because there was a group that contained Nibali just behind us so we had to push for the first hour. We got a gap and worked well, some guys were taking some chances but we rode well. I knew the climb as we rode it in recon a few weeks ago but I wasn’t expecting to stay away. I wasn’t feeling too good at the start of the climb but as it went on I felt better. Over the top I was in 5th or 6th, with a small group. On the descent I did some crazy Moto GP riding and was able to race for 3rd place from a group, and I ended 2nd from that group and 4th on the stage which I am really happy about.