Giro d'Italia 2024 stage eight preview - made for climbers

A day for a strong breakaway?

Date: Saturday May 11, 2024
Distance: 152km
Start location: Spoleto
Finish location: Prati di Tivo
Start time: 12:30 CET
Finish time (approx): 17:14 CET

Up until now, the opening week of the Giro d'Italia has featured an eclectic variety of different types of GC stage, with a mountain top finish, gravel stage and time trial all causing time gaps. The overall classification could as a result have an unusual, perhaps even misleading, look to it as we enter the second weekend. But today, a clearer hierarchy could form as we enter the terrain that more than any other determines who wins Grand Tours — the high mountains. This is a chance for the superior climbers who might have lost time earlier to really assert themselves in the race, and make their move towards the top of the general classification, as well as a test for any riders who have flourished so far to see if they are genuine candidates for the podium. 

The Apennine Mountains that are the setting for this stage aren’t exactly the Alps in terms of size, but the climbing in store is enough to make this the first proper mountain stage of the race so far. The hard work begins from the flag with seven kilometres of climbing to an uncategorised summit, followed by an official climb of the category two Forca Capistrello, which, topping out at over 1200m, is the highest point of the race so far. The road undulates for the next 60 kilometres or so, before the category three Croce Abbio takes them back to over 1200 metres again.

All of this is testing, but it’s the final climb of Prati di Tivo that makes today a really important stage for the GC riders. One of the foothills of Gran Sasso, the highest point of the Apennines, Prati di Tivo is longer, steeper and higher than last Sunday’s Oropa summit finish, and one of the hardest summit finishes of the whole race. It’s the kind of relentless mountain that you need to get into a rhythm on, as, although there aren’t any nasty ramps of double-digit gradients, neither is there any relief offered, as the gradient rarely fluctuates from 7% — which, for the entirety of its 14.6km duration, becomes increasingly punishing. 

Prati di Tivo might not have featured at the Giro since 1975, when a young Giovanni Battaglin claimed the first Grand Tour stage of his illustrious career, but it has been included at Tirreno-Adriatico since then, and as recently as last month at the Giro d'Abruzzo. On the latter occasion, an isolated Alexey Lutsenko remarkably managed to withstand multiple attacks from three different UAE Team Emirates riders to not just take the overall lead, but the stage as well; by contrast, when leader Wout van Aert was placed under similar pressure on the climb at the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico, he eventually cracked as Tadej Pogačar escaped 5.5km from the top to take the stage and the overall. This could therefore be a day for a pure climber to succeed with stop/start attacks, or a diesel engine to ride to the top at their own pace. 

Stage profile sourced via the Giro d'Italia website


Stage eight of the Giro d'Italia will have the mountain goats of the peloton licking their lips. It's a route tailor-made for opportunistic climbers who have the chance to establish a strong breakaway and get a shot at a stage win and even the maglia rosa. There's barely any sections of flat throughout the 152-kilometre stage, with the roads constantly undulating right until the summit finish in Prati di Tivo. 

Mauri Vansevenant of Soudal–Quick-Step is a rider who often looks for opportunities on days like this, well-suited to the long, sustained breakaway effort and a strong climber in his own right. Similarly, his teammate Jan Hirt could be another option for the Belgian squad on stage eight – he won a stage of the Giro in 2022 which finished in Aprica and it was a similarly mountainous, testing route.

From EF Education-EasyPost, Andrea Piccolo could be in with a chance on stage eight. The Italian rider has been performing well in this Giro so far, finishing in fourth place on stage six's Strade Bianche-style route, and he'll come in to his own even more as the climbs get longer and harder. In his heyday, stage eight would have been a day perfectly suited to Movistar's Nairo Quintana. If he manages to find some form, the Colombian rider shouldn't be counted out as a contender from the breakaway in this stage. Will Barta is another option for Movistar.

Attila Valter of Visma-Lease a Bike could be the chosen rider for the team in yellow and black – he historically performs well in the mountains and will be hoping for a change of luck after a tricky Giro so far for the team. Romain Bardet of Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL may look at stage eight as a chance to gain back some time on the general classification, and his young teammate Gijs Leemreize is another talented climber who dsm-firmenich may want to put in the breakaway. 

It won't just be the WorldTour teams who will want to have a presence at the front of today's stage, either. We can expect the likes of VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè to have a rider in crucial moves, and Giulio Pellizzari is a young Italian climber who could be the man for his team on stage eight. Antonio Tiberi showed his climbing prowess for Bahrain-Victorious earlier this season, so he will also have his eye on the breakaway on stage eight.

Then, of course, you can never count out a Tadej Pogačar attack to crush any dreams of the breakaway riders and if the UAE Team Emirates rider goes, this will force other GC contenders like Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Daniel Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) to go for the stage too.


In the first real summit finish of this year's Giro d'Italia, we are expecting the breakaway to fight for victory and think that Nairo Quintana will turn back the clock and take the stage win.

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