NAPLES: Veteran Belgian rider Thomas De Gendt(pix) rolled back the years with victory in the Giro d'Italia eighth stage around Naples on Saturday with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez holding the race leader's pink jersey.

The 35-year-old Lotto rider won a sprint finish ten years after his first Giro stage win on the Stelvio when he finished third overall in the race through Italy.

On Saturday, De Gendt pipped three break-away rivals Italian Davide Gabburo, Spaniard Jorge Arcas and compatriot Harm Vanhoucke after the 153km ride around the southern city of Naples.

Trek rider Lopez retains the lead he grabbed last Tuesday on Mount Etna. Sunday's 191km ninth stage ends with a summit finish at 1,665m altitude on Blockhaus, in the Abruzzo region.

De Gendt also counts stage wins in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

A breakaway group of 20 runners formed 14km into the race with Mathieu van der Poel accelerating heading into the last 50 km to split the group.

But the Dutchman, closely watched by Eritrean Biniam Girmay and the Swiss Mauro Schmid, had to let a counter-attack of Gabburo, De Gendt, Vanhoucke and Arcas develop a few moments later.

Under the impetus of De Gendt, the leading quartet maintained their lead until the final push on the finish line on the seafront in Naples.-AFP