VIESTE, Italy: British rider Alex Dowsett claimed his first Giro dItalia stage victory in seven years on Saturday, and Joo Almeida held onto the overall leaders pink jersey.
Dowsett, who rides for the Israel Start-Up Nation team, attacked from a six-man breakaway group 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) from the end of Stage 8, a 200-kilometer (124-mile) route from Giovinazzo to Vieste.
The 32-year-old Dowsett put his hands to his head and shook it as if incredulous as he approached the finish line. His only previous stage win at the Giro was an individual time trial in 2013.
Salvatore Puccio won a sprint for second, just ahead of Matthew Holmes and Joseph Rosskopf. They were one minute and 15 seconds behind Dowsett.
Michael Matthews led the peloton across, nearly 14 minutes behind Dowsett.
Almeida, a Portuguese rider with the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, remained 43 seconds ahead of Spanish rider Pello Bilbao.
Overall contender Simon Yates withdrew from the Giro before the start of the stage after testing positive for the coronavirus. He is the second main contender to leave the race after Geraint Thomas withdrew after breaking his pelvis in a fall during Stage 3.
Saturdays stage was mainly flat in the first half of the route but there were two categorized climbs in the much more undulating second part of the stage.
The six riders escaped after 22 kilometers (14 miles). None of them apart from Dowsett had won an individual Giro stage before.
The gap rose to more than nine minutes on the main climb, the second-category Monte Sant Angelo and the peloton was happy to let them go, with Puccio the best-placed rider in the breakaway but more than 34 minutes behind Almeida.
Sundays ninth stage is a mountainous 207-kilometer (128.6-mile) leg from San Salvo to Roccaraso. The route features two second-category and two first-category climbs, including the summit finish.
The Giro was rescheduled from its usual May slot because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race ends on Oct. 25 with an individual time trial in Milan.
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