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It had been a rather underwhelming Giro d’Italia for Lotto-Soudal until stage 8 in Naples.
Caleb Ewan had struggled for his best form and finishing in the sprint stages, even crashing out of contention on stage 1, while the Belgian squad came into the race without a GC candidate to rally around.
Step forward Thomas De Gendt. The Belgian was at the race to help set up Ewan in the sprints but on stage 8 the former podium finisher was given a rare chance to demonstrate his class with a chance of going up the road in the breakaway.
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What followed was a masterclass from the veteran rider as he rolled back the years to provide a timely reminder as to why he was dubbed one of the specialist breakaway artists of his generation. The Belgian marked all the right moves, didn’t miss a beat, and then put his remaining rivals to the sword in a four-way sprint to the line.
The win marked De Gendt’s second ever Giro d’Italia stage win, and gave his team a huge boost heading into the second rest day at this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Without further adieu, we give you Thomas De Gendt and the art of the breakaway.