Maxim Belkov won solo on another dramatic day of the Giro which saw defending champ Ryder Hesjedal dropped on the final climb and lose over 1 minute to the other GC contenders. Bradley Wiggins has also shown a significant weakness with his descending in the rain, and although he was able to come away from the stage unhurt, Sky did instruct Uran and Henao to proceed without the Tour de France champ as faith in his abilities is being lost. On the final descent he was over 1 minute behind the GC contenders according the somewhat unreliable time gaps, but managed to claw back to the group.
Katusha has continued an excellent Giro even without last year’s runner up Joaquim Rodriguez who opted to focus on the Tour instead. They had the Maglia Rosa after Luca Paolini’s stage 3 win and held it for three days, and now have their second victory of the race with Belkov going solo on the 9th stage.
Tomorrow is the first rest day of the race and some teams are going to have to address some realities. Is Hesjedal in form to limit his losses in the next week and then take back time in the mountains? Is Wiggins still in control at Sky or have Uran and Haneo been let loose? How can the other top ten men gain time on Nibali who looks to be at a completely different level than everyone else?
Stage 9 Top Five
1. Maxim Belkov (KAT)
2. Carlos Betancur (ALM)
3. Jarlinson Pantano (COL)
4. Tobias Ludvigsson (ARG)
5. Cadel Evans (BMC)
Overall Classification after Stage 9
1. Vincenzo Nibali (AST)___29h46’57″
2. Cadel Evans (BMC)_____+29″
3. Robert Gesink (BLA)____+1’15″
4. Bradley Wiggins (SKY)___+1’16″
5. Michele Scarponi (LAM)__+1’24″
6. Sergio Luis Henao (SKY)__+2’11″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (VIN)_+2’43″
9. Rigoberto Uran (SKY)____+2’49″
10. Tanel Kangert (AST)_____+3’02″
11. Ryder Hesjedal (GRM)___+3’11″
12. Wilco Keldermann (BLA)__+3’26″
13. Benat Intxausti (MOV)____+3’36″
14. Samuel Sanchez (EUS)____+3’43″
15. Domenico Pozzovivo (ALM)_+4’05”