France's Victor Lafay (Cofidis) emerged victorious on a dramatic Stage 8 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia.
Declared as the "next big French star" by Eurosport commentator Rob Hatch, he was welcomed to the big time with a stunning Grand Tour stage win.
It was Lafay's first pro win after making it into the day’s much-coveted breakaway, which took over an hour to get away up the road, with frenetic competition and even some brief periods where the peloton was split into echelons.
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It was a day of numerous failed attempts at attacks at various stages, with Ineos' Egan Bernal drawing angry gesticulations from other riders when he infiltrated a breakaway early on.

'It's chaos!' - Bernal told to go away in comical breakaway

When a break did emerge it was the eight names of Lafay, Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Citroen), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani CSF), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo Kometa), Kobe Goossens (Lottou Soudal), Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).
They were later joined by Victor Campenaerts, who bridged across solo. He said after the race.
“It start with the beginning, I was very motivated to go in the break. I missed the break and had to close it by myself, and that for me was the effort of the day. In the final I tried to win the race, I knew this wasn’t gonna happen if I attacked on the climb, so I tried to go before. To be honest I am happy with result in an uphill finish.”
The 25-year-old Lafay produced an inspired finish to take the win from Gavazzi and Arndt, who finished in second and third places respectively. Carboni was looking good in the final two kilometres but faded to fourth place.
Gaviria was one of the most active riders in the break, attacking the rest of the move on the descent from the category two Bocca della Selva. Unfortunately, he ended up crashing into a wall in inauspicious fashion.

'Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear!' - Gaviria crashes into wall after silly attack

Gaviria was badly scraped up and dropped on the final climb, rolling home well in arrears of Lafay, the ninth rider of the nine-man break.
Speaking after the race, Lafay said.
“It’s incredible, yeah, it was a very tough day, to get in the breakaway was very difficult. When it was gone, the peloton let us seven minutes. The finish was hard, but it was where I am the best. I was focused all day – and I am really happy I did that.”

Highlights: Giro Stage 8 delivers crashes, attacks and rising French star

When asked how he had judged his breakaway companions, he added.
“I knew they were not climbers, but Oliveira was I think the best one. I kept an eye on him, but I was confident in my legs. I don’t believe it now that I just won.”
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) abandoned the race today while wearing the ciclamino jersey, citing knee pain. Atilla Valter retained the pink jersey with a confident performance on the day's last climb and thanks to some good teamwork from Groupama FDJ throughout the stage. Gino Mader also stays in blue.

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