PRATO, Italy (AP) _ Belgian Axel Merckx recovered from an early spill to win the eigth and longest stage of Giro d'Italia cycling race with an attack in the last mile Sunday.

Spain's Jose Gutierrez, who finished in the lead group, took the overall leader's pink jersey from Italian Matteo Tosatto.

Merckx edged by a few seconds seven cyclists who were his companions in a 15-mile breakaway at the end for the 159.3-miles race from Corinaldo to Prato.

Merckx lost nearly 30 seconds from the leading group when he fell at a sharp corner in the downhill of Monte Acuto, the last mountain pass of the day.

He struggled for several miles before reaching the leading seven, then went to the front for good in the final mile.