Cycling: Pozzovivo over the moon with maiden Giro stage success
Diminutive Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF Colnago) powered his way to his first Giro d'Italia stage victory in Lago Laceno yesterday, having soloed clear of his rivals 7km from the summit finish on the 17km ascent of Colle Mollela to win stage eight.
Winner of the recent Giro del Trentino, featherweight Pozzovivo's immense power-to-weight ratio propelled him 23 seconds clear of nearest rival Benat Intxausti of Movistar on the climb as race leader Ryder Hesjedal struggled to maintain his grip on the pink jersey, losing an eight-second time bonus to third-placed Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha.
"This seems like a dream," Pozzovivo said afterwards. "It's my first win in the Giro, which was a feat that it seemed I was never likely to achieve. I couldn't give any more in the final two kilometres, but I felt it was going to be my day and it was.
"This stage was very close to my heart, as it is not far from my home, although it wasn't the most suitable for me, given that the hard section of the climb was so short and also because there was a flatter section beyond the climb to the finish line."
Pozzovivo moved up to 13th place overall after the stage, while Hesjedal now leads the Giro by nine seconds from Rodriguez.
However, the Canadian knows he will come under attack again in the high mountains after today's second rest day.
Meanwhile, Dubliner Philip Lavery recorded a fine solo victory in the Shay Elliot Memorial, in Bray yesterday.
Lavery took victory by just seven seconds on the line and immediately dedicated the victory to former Ras winner Seamus Kennedy, who passed away last week.