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Horror for Horrillo

Belarussian Kanstantsin Siutsou raced to victory in the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, but there were scant celebrations after Spain’s Pedro Horrillo Munoz suffered a horrendous fall into a ravine.

The Rabobank rider was in a serious condition in hospital, being kept in an induced coma, with head injuries and several fractures after tumbling 60 metres into a ravine halfway through the part-mountain stage.

Team Columbia’s Siutsou won by a large margin of 21 seconds despite looking exhausted as he navigated the cobbles of Bergamo in the closing stages.

He had surprisingly hit the front late on in the 209km route from Morbegno to Bergamo.

Team-mate and stage seven winner Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway was second and LPR’s Danilo Di Luca finished third to keep hold of the overall leader’s pink jersey.

The 2007 winner, who has led for four stages, just caught Team Columbia’s Michael Rogers on the line.

‘I’m really sorry about Horrillo, I hope it is nothing really serious and he returns quickly,’ Di Luca told reporters.

‘At the end I tried to gain a little and I gained eight seconds so it went ok.’

The Italian, who fought off doping allegations last year, has a 13-second lead overall from Sweden’s Thomas Lovkvist with Australian Rogers third and Astana’s Levi Leipheimer 51 seconds back in fourth.

Lance Armstrong, who is considering taking over the team, struggled having made a bright start to his first Giro only weeks after breaking his collarbone.

The 37-year-old American, critical of Friday’s finish which he saw as dangerous because of rain, is starting to look out of contention in the overall standings. He is 25th, 4:39 behind Di Luca.

Sunday’s ninth stage is a flat 163km route around Milan. The world’s second biggest stage race finishes in Rome on May 31.

For Barloword’s South African riders, John-Lee Augustyn took 62nd in the stage, placing 62nd, 5min 29sec down on the lead while sprinter Robbie Hunter was more than 100 places further back in 168th (19:04).

But Augustyn is still hanging in for the general classifiations, lying 40th, 10:39 back while Hunter is 128th (1:03:29 down)