Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) has won the sprint on a dynamic 9th stage of the Giro. The otherwise flat stage was turned a little chaotic thanks to a small but steep climb just 5km from the line. After a number of long break attacks, Garmin took control of the race and brought everything together going into Frosinone.
However, when the group hit the climb Katusha launched Daniel Moreno with Joaquim Rodriguez in tow. Rodriguez, who sat just 9 seconds behind Hesjedal in the overall, had his eye on the stage win, but equally importantly the 20 second bonus which would likely put him in pink. With the threat of a new leader, and a major contender for the overall up the road, the peloton surged and tracked down Rodriguez at the summit.
The descent was then a swarm of teams all trying to regain position and composure as other teams were launching attacks. Dennis Vanendert went off the front for about the third time in 30km’s and the chase was a mess. Finally, Greenedge got things seemingly under control but, perhaps due to the confusion, they blew the final corner wide, five or six riders went down including Mark Cavendish (who fell gently and wasn’t hurt) and that opened the door for Ventoso, who promptly closed it, with the win.
There was no change in the overall classification as Ryder Hesjedal finished in 7th, highest of the GC contenders and secured the Maglia Rosa for another day.
Tomorrow, we’re back into the mountains with a 186km undulating stage into Assisi. It is a likely change in Maglia Rosa, to Joaquim Rodriguez, because the stage finish is perfect for him with two punchy climbs with killer gradients. The first is a 1.5km, 9.2% wall that has about 500m at 13% and peaks at 15%. Then a short downhill followed by the final 1.2km up to the finish at 9%. Garmin is going to want to let a low placed break go for the win (watch Euskaltel) or launch a dummy attack up the road (Vandevelde perhaps), and then behind that take control of the favorites into the final. This should nullify the 20, 12 and 8 second bonuses. From there it’s up to Hesjedal to launch into the first climb and try and hang on for dear life. Katusha and Lampre on the other hand, will be smart to control breaks and not let them get out more than a minute, cause they’ll want the bonus seconds for J-Rod (KAT) and Scarponi (LAM). Liquigas should play passive observer, let the other teams work, and let Basso – who isn’t as explosive – grind at a high pace through the finale. Don’t miss this stage! This may be a good time for me to remind everyone that the race shows live and free on the Gazzetta.it website daily.
Stage 9 Top Five
1. Francisco Ventoso (MOV)________3h39’15”
2. Fabio Felline (AND)
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (RNT)
4. Damiano Caruso (LIQ)
5. Daniel Schorn (NET)
Complete Stage 9 results: Gazzetta Official
General Classification after 9 stages
1. Ryder Hesjedal (GRM)________34h02’40”
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT)______+9″
3. Paolo Tiralongo (AST)_________+15″
4. Roman Kreuziger (AST)________+35″
5. Benat Intxausti (MOV)________+35″
6. Ivan Basso (LIQ)_____________+40″
7. Damiano Caruso (LIQ)_________+45″
8. Dario Caltaldo (OPQ)________+46″
9. Frank Schleck (RNT)__________+48″
10. Eros Capecchi (LIQ)_________+52″
11. Rigoberto Uran (SKY)________+53″
12. Michele Scarponi (LAM)_______+54″
15. Damiano Cunego (LAM)________+1’14”
33. John Gadret (ALM)___________+2’38”
42. Mikel Nieve (EUS)___________+3’18”
Complete General Classification: Gazzetta Official