Primoz Roglic launched the first significant attack of the Giro d’Italia in Saturday’s undulating eighth stage and gained 14 seconds on Remco Evenepoel.
Ben Healy won the stage with a solo breakaway, while Andreas Leknessund held onto the pink jersey despite losing a big chunk of time.
Healy got into an early breakaway and surged ahead in the finale on the first of two ascents up the short but steep Muro dei Cappuccini climb, which featured gradients of up to 19%.
The Cappuccini climb was also where Roglic burst into action on the second ascent with six kilometers to go.
By the top of the climb, only Geoghegan Hart and Thomas were with Roglic, while Evenepoel was left behind, and Leknessund even further back.
Leknessund’s overall lead ahead of Evenepoel was reduced to eight seconds, with Roglic surging up to third, 38 seconds back.
“It’s a relief to retain the maglia rosa after such a strong effort at the end,” Leknessund said. “It was the fight I expected in the last climb. I probably wouldn’t have raced like that if I wasn’t wearing the maglia rosa.”
Joao Almeida is fourth overall, while Thomas and Geoghegan Hart moved up to fifth and sixth, respectively.