Montecopiolo, Italy - Cadel Evans snatched the overall lead in the Giro d'Italia after finishing among a group of race favourites after the eighth stage, the first mountain test of the event that was won by Italian Diego Ulissi.

BMC rider Evans, the 2011 Tour de France champion, wrested the pink jersey away from fellow Australian Michael Matthews who was quickly dropped when the competitors started to climb in the 179-km trek from Foligno.

Evans, who gained ground on his main rivals after dodging Thursday's crashes, now leads Colombian Rigoberto Uran by 57 seconds. Poland's Rafal Majka is third, 1:10 off the pace.

Italian Michele Scarponi lost lots of time after struggling all day with a leg injury.

Frenchman Pierre Rolland, who surged clear of the peloton with 30-km left, was caught 250 metres from the line after an attack by Spaniard Dani Moreno.

Lampre rider Ulissi won the stage after outsprinting Croatian Robert Kiserlovski.

“I hung in there all day to stay in the leading group. Then I did a super sprint,” Ulissi told Italian media.

Sunday's 172-km ninth stage is from Lugo to Testola. – Reuters