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Welcome to live coverage of 172km long stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia from Lugo to the summit finish at Sestola.
Welcome to today's coverage of the Giro d'Italia and we've got our second consecutive summit finish for the peloton.
We've got our first truly sunny day since we began in Belfast. There is a little bit of wind, but we aren't expecting any rain today.
We are around 15 minutes from the start in Lugo and the riders are beginning to make their way to the start line.
Yesterday saw the first test for the general classification and Diego Ulissi take his second stage win of the race. Considering the gradients at the finish, Ulissi's win was hugely impressive. The Italian admits that his performance so far has put him in contention as one of the team's leaders. Read what he had to say here.
A reminder of how things panned out yesterday with the top 10 from stage 8.
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 4:47:47
2 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:06
4 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:08
6 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:14
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:17
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:00:20
Michael Matthews had to had the pink jersey over to his compatriot Cadel Evans yesterday, after he was dropped on the Cippo di Carpegna. Here is a look at how the general classification looks after the summit finish on Montecopiolo.
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 34:22:35
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:57
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:10
4 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:01:31
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:39
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:01:43
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:44
8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:45
9 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:49
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:50
We've got news of our first DNS today, Francesco Chicchi (Neri Sottoli). The Italian took a spectacular head-first dive over the roadside barriers into the grass on the other side yesterday, when he lost control of his bike. Chicchi finished the stage over 30 minutes down on the leaders.
Julian Arredondo's attack nearly came off yesterday, but he was caught on the final climb of the day. However, his efforts did earn him the lead in the mountains classification. Trek Factory Racing took this picture of him with young riders classification leader Rafal Majka, who took it from Matthews yesterday.
The riders have rolled out in front of large crowds in Lugo and under blissfully sunny skies.
Despite suffering heavily in yesterday's stage Michele Scarponi is still in the race, although his GC battle is over now.
Here is a look at what the riders have to face today.
You can also read our preview of today's stage right here
The summit finish at Sestola could be a lot more difficult than everybody expects. It's has only been given category 2 status, but it is a grinding ascent at the bottom and many believe it should be given a higher categorisation. The riders will be given a little bit of respite as it flattens out towards the top.
The peloton have completed 10 kilometres and it is still gruppo compatto for now.
Robert Kiserlovski finished second to Diego Ulissi in yesterday's stage. Cyclingnews spoke to him at the finish and you can watch the video here and don't forget to subscribe.
We will have plenty more videos for you after today's stage and you'll be able to find them all in our Giro d'Italia play list. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of them.
Cadel Evans currently holds a 57 second advantage over Rigoberto Uran in the general classification. Provided he can stick with his rivals, he should be safe in that jersey, but the tough finish gives the likes of Nairo Quintana a chance to take some time back on the Australian.
The pace is high in the peloton and an escape has not been able to form yet. They are all still together.
This year is the first time that Sestola features as a finish town. However, it was a start town in 1971 with Marino Basso (no relation to Ivan) winning in Montova.
Today's start town was a finish in the 1914 Giro d'Italia. Pierino Albini won on that day in a whopping time of 17 hours 45 minutes 47 seconds.
After 36km of racing we've had a lot of attacks, but the Sky-lead peloton is not letting any of them go. It's all still together at the moment.
Katusha have had a terrible time at the Giro d'Italia this year. They are three men down and are out of contention in the general classification. Daniel Moreno is one of their best bests for victory and the Spaniard launched a late attack yesterday, but fell short. Despite losing out, Moreno remained upbeat about his performance.
There has been a crash in the bunch and the peloton has split. No news as to who has been involved.
Yesterday's second placed Robert Kiserlovski is one of the riders now in the second peloton, according to his Trek team.
Sky still controlling the front of the peloton. They seem reluctant to let anyone go at the moment and we've still got no breakaway.
We finally have a breakaway forming, with 14 men in it.
The group of escapees have a gap of 1:16 on the peloton. The riders who have made it into the group are Julien Berard (AG2R La Mondiale), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocatolli), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocatolli), David Tanner (Belkin), Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Jonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar).
Both Julien Berard and Marco Bandiera were in yesterday's breakaway attempt. The teams not represented in that group are obviously those of the main GC contenders, who have other things to think about today.
The gap has ballooned out to 4:23, it looks like this will be our break for the day.
There is little surprise that there is an Orica-GreenEdge rider in the breakaway today. With no pink jersey to worry about, all bets are off for the Australian team. Weening is a strong climber and could do well if the escapees can make it to the finish.
Davide Malacarne is the best placed rider in the breakaway. He began the day 9:27 down on Cadel Evans this morning.
Despite being part of the Colombia team, who are famed for their climbing abilities. Leonardo Duque is a sprinter and will struggle when the climbs come up in the second half of the stage.
The average speed of the first hour of racing was a very quick 47kph, which is why the break took so long to form today.
After 76 kilometres of racing the gap back to the peloton is 5:30.
Tinkoff-Saxo confirm that Christopher Juul-Jensen was one of the riders to come down in that crash earlier on. It's been a tough debut Giro d'Italia for the Danish rider, who has also been suffering with illness this week.
There are two riders in this lead group who have won stages of the Giro d'Italia before. Weening obviously won the opening team time trial in Belfast with his Orica-GreenEdge team. However, he also won a stage in the 2011 Giro d'Italia. Salvatore Puccio won the team time trial with Team Skylast season. Both have worn the maglia rosa two, Weening wore it for two days with Puccio wearing it for just one.
The escapees now have a gap of six minutes on the peloton.
If the breakaway do manage to make it to the finish the favoured rider will be Jonathan Monsalve, the Venezuelan recently won the mountains classification at the Giro del Trentino.
It seems like former maglia rosa Michael Matthews was involved in that big pile-up earlier on. Images show him missing a large chunk of his shorts and a bit of skin too.
The leaders have now passed the halfway point in the stage, as we approach the feed zone in Crespellano.
As the peloton now make their way through the feed zone, lead by BMC's Daniel Oss, the gap has extended to 7:14.
Francisco Ventoso swerves out of the peloton and climbs off his bike to fix his shoe on the side of his road. The pace isn't too high in the peloton, so he hasn't lost too much time.
A reminder of what the riders face today with the profile of stage 9:
The riders will hit the first climb of the day Sant'Antonio in around 9 kilometers. The intermediate sprint comes just after they crest the climb.
BMC are managing things on in the peloton with Daniel Oss sitting on the front. They have allowed the advantage to grow to 8 minutes now.
This is Evans' fourth Giro d'Italia and it is the third time he has worn the maglia rosa. He became the first Australian to wear the jersey in 2002, holding onto it for two days. He also wore it in 2010 for a day, before going onto winning the points and climber's jerseys. Evans' best finish at the Giro d'Italia was his third place last season.
Nobody in this break are a threat to Evans in his pink jersey, will BMC be happy to let them stay away to the finish?
Some may think that taking the pink jersey on stage 8 is too early for Evans, but the Australian doesn't think so. “There’s still a long way to go, but I got some seconds today [on my rivals] and I’m very pleased to have the lead,” he said.
You can read the full article here
The break are climbing now and we're into the crucial part of this stage.
The 14 men out front still hold a gap of 7:50 and the peloton seem happy at this pace. A reminder of the men in this break. Julien Berard (AG2R La Mondiale), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocatolli), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocatolli), David Tanner (Belkin), Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Jonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar).
Three men in this group were in the break yesterday, Bandiera, Berard and Vorganov.
There are a few sprinters in this leading group, including Gatto, Tanner and Duque, who will be interested in this intermediate sprint at the top of the climb. We can expect to see them dropping back not too long after that.
Bongiorno has to drop out of the peloton to get a quick adjustment on his saddle on the move.
The gap has come down a little bit, but the peloton don't seem too interested in catching them. It now stands at 7 minutes.
As the peloton climbs we can see some riders turggling already. Steven Kruijswijk is on the back again, suffering with a broken shoulder.
This climb shouldn't trouble too many, however, nor should the following fourth category ascent of Rocchetta Sandri. So we can expect the peloton to come to the final climb relatively intact.
Garmin-Sharp have amassed on the front with BMC, Movistar and Tinkoff-Saxo behind them. They missed out on the break today and need to shut this down if they hope to have a chance at victory today.
Ryder Hesjedal is probably Garmin's best shot at victory today. The Canadian is sitting near the back of the Garmin train. It looks like they've put their whole team on the front, but the gap isn't coming down as quickly as they would like.
Vorganov attacks from the peloton for the KOM points but it's Monsalve who flys right by him to take the points.
Monsalve, Vorganov and Malacarne miss a turning on the descent and have to make a quick change of direction. They are with the escape group and haven't lost any time.
There are a number of teams coming to the front of the peloton. BMC, Astana, Trek and Lampre spread out on the road. Cadel Evans is on the back coming trough the cars.
The pace was high and the gap was coming down, but they seem to have knocked it off as Evans makes his way back. The gap to the escapees is now 6:16
Davide Malacarne has attacked on the descent. He is quickly brought back into the group. We have 1 kilometre until the intermediate sprint.
Bandiera goes off the front and takes the points in the intermediate sprint.
Garmin rider Nathan Haas is riding his second Giro d'Italia this year. He's had a busy race, crashing on the first two stages and then going on the attack in stage 7. However, he took some time to talk to us about his bike. You can watch the video here, and don't forget to subscribe.
Michael Matthews has been dropped by the peloton. He took a heavy fall earlier on in the race, in a multi-rider pile-up that split the peloton. He's mising quite a lot of his shorts and skin on his right leg.
The peloton have decided to up the pace finally, and have brought the gap down to 5:47. However, it's looking ever more likely that the winner will come from the escape group today. No team sees too interested in catching them.
Away from the Giro d'Italia for a moment, Brad White took victory in the Wilmington Grand Prix. You can get the full results and report here.
BMC have put the hammer down and have sliced the gap down to 4:50. Perhaps we will see a catch after all.
Steven Kruijswijk has abandoned the race. He's been riding with a fractured shoulder since the crash in Cassino on stage 6.
Evans is currently second man on the road. BMC are really pushing it on this descent, making the most of Evans' skills on the descent. The peloton is strung out behind them.
This is the final climb today to Sestola, as we said earlier, it's much harder than the second category status would have us believe. The bottom part of a grinding climb that will cause some big gaps before the road flattens out a little bit.
The escapees advantage isn't coming down quite as quckly now. It has levelled out at around 4:45 for the last couple of kilometres. They peloton is still flying down this descent.
We brought you the news that Kruijswijk had abandoned today. Here is what the Belkin rider had to say of his decision. "I'm still in pain after the crash in stage 6. My shoulder and ribs hurt to much."
The escapees are still all together as they ride up the second climb of the day. However, that's unlikely to last once we hit the final climb in around 5 kilomtres time.
The rapid pace on the descent has trimmed the peloton down significantly, but there is a group chasing back on behind them
Fabio Aru, the new GC contender for Astana, has a mechanical problem and has to take a wheel from his teammate. He is now chasing back on.
Aru has four teammates with him, trying to bring him back to the peloton as Nathan Haas and Ryder Hesjedal take to the front.
With 26km remaining, the gap to the escapees is 4:07. This is going to be a tight finish.
David Tanner attacks from the breakaway group.
Aru makes it back to the peloton along with his teammates. However he seems to have lost one along the way and only has thrree with him.
Haas still riding on the front of the peloton and he is brining the gap down at a rapid rate. It is now 3:36
Aru getting a quick adjustment of his brakes after that wheel change. They are passing plenty of riders, who are being shelled out of the peloton.
This second climb really kicks up at the top and Tanner has to get out of the saddle. He can see the KOM line now.
Tanner takes full points at the top of the climb, but he only has a 5 second advantage over the chasers.
As someone more suited to sprinting, Tanner is unlikely to stay out front for too much longer.
Europcar are now on the front. Rolland is sat in second position in the peloton. He came so close to victory yesterday, but was passed with less than 500 metres to go. We can expect him to make another move today.
The peloton pass through the KOM 3:19 down on the escapees. It's going to be a close call for these 14 men out front.
If the break do make it, Monsalve has to be the favourite to take it.
Tanner has been brought back by the chasers and they are all together at the front.
Weening was near the back of the group and caught his break companions by surprise. He immediately gets a good gap.
The other escapees haven't managed to mount a chase yet and they are all looking at each other.
Weening has a close call with a race motorbike, who cuts very closely to the Orica-GreenEdge rider. He isn't too disrupted by the incident though.
The escape group is breaking up. Davide Malacarne has set off in chase of Weening with Van Der Sande, Barbin, Duque and Rodriguez behind him.
Weenging looks like he is labouring and the gap is now tubling once again. It's all uphil from here.
Cyclingnews drove up the climb earlier today and there are a lot of fans out, especially at the most difficult section.
Malacarne catches Weening and the pair join forces
Bandiera is the first of the escapees to be caught by the peloton.
Van Der Sande attacks fromt he chasing group and is followed by Berard. Duque is trying to join them.
The gap to the peloton has gone up once again and favour is swinging in the direction of the escapees.
There is a lot of action going on in the first chasing group Berard and Rodriguez have both made jumps out of the group.
It is still all to play for, for the men out front. Weening and Malacarne hold a small advantage.
Actually Malacarne and Weening have done a fairly good job at distancing the chasers. They've got an advantage of 35 seconds.
We will have video from today's stage later this evening, if you don't want to miss any of it make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel right here
The two leaders are working perfectly together. They've managed to build up and advantage of 1:12. However, the hardest stuff is still to come.
Once we pass through the town of Sestola, where much of the fans are, the road kicks up to its maximum of 13%. That will be the sternest test for the two leaders, who now lead by 1:27
The two leaders are going through Sestola now, holding an advantage of 1:30 at the moment.
Back in the peloton, TInkoff-Saxo have taken up the pace setting. They've got Rafal Majka in the young rider's classification jersey.
Weenging and Malacarne are increasing their lead to 1:40. With just under 7km to go, they can almost smell victory.
Crash in the pelotn. Colombian champion Rubiano is down as it Gorka Izagirre, who looks like he's in a lot of pain.
It looks like Izagirre has hurt his ankle, but we'll have to wait and see.
The Movistar rider tentatively gets back on his bike, but he's not going at any great speed.
Alexander Geniz attacks
Tinkoff-Saxo are trying to chase down Geniez, who isn't getting too much ground on the peloton.
Up front Barbin has dropped his compatriots as he chases down the two leaders.
Geniez is still pursuing his attack. The FDJ team missed out on the break, but this seems like it could be too little too late.
Vuillermoz has attacked the peloton now. He did a lot of work for Pozzovivo yesterday. The two Frenchmen pass Van Der Sande.
Weening and Malacarne are having a few cross words between themselves. Weening doesn't seem happy with the amount of work Malacarne is doing.
Vuillermoz has dropped Geniez now and is on his own.
The peloton are closing it down now. The two leaders now only have 2:30 on the main group and it continues to fall
Barbin is now 1:46 behind the two leaders. It's still a large gap to try and bridge.
The Italian has passed and dropped Vuillermoz
Uran sets off in chase, he is followed by Evans, Majka, Kiserlovski, Keldermann and Quintana
Bsso has made it into this group of favourites.
Pozzovivo has now passed Berard who has been in the break all day. He now has Duque and Monsalve on his wheel. This is a great move by the Italian and his team.
Pozzovivo can see Barbin up the road now.
Pozzovivo is 31 seconds ahead of Evans and 2:01 behind the leaders
Pozzovivo started the day 1:50 behind Evans. He probably won't take pink today, but this is great for later in the race.
Uran is leading the chase of Pozzovivo but they're around 35 seconds back on the Italian, who is now with Barbin.
It's now Poels on the front of the main group. Which has swelled in ranks as they bring back some of the escapees.
Malacarne and Weening have gone under the flamme rouge.
They're now almost coming to a standstill as they look at each other.
Pozzovivo is under the flamme rouge
Malacarne leads the sprint
Weening wins stage 9
Pozzovivo takes third and the bonus seconds, let's wait for the time gaps.
The group of favourites cross the line 1:07 back on the winners. That looks like Pozzovivo has gained 27 seconds and then the bonus seconds to boot.
This has been a great race for Orica-GreenEdge. This is their third stage win and they also held the pink jersey for the first 8 stages.
It was a great effort by Weening to out-sprint Malacarne. This is his second individual victory at the race, after taking victory on stage 5 in 2011.
Here is the top 10 for today's stage
1 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge 4:25:51
2 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:40
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:01:08
5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
8 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky
9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
10 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia
Pozzovivo has moved himself into fourth place, 1:20 down on Evans, who still leads the race.
Weening obviously a happy man at the finish here is whatr he has to say:
"Actually the guys weren't working perfect in the group and it went slightly uphill. At the roundabout I saw everybody going to wrong way around and I thoguht that was the moment. normally you wait for the climb but this climb is not so steep to attack, so I thought I would attack before the climb.
"Malacarne came back and he was really strong. It was really steep and I thought I would accellerate, but I couldn't drop him. I heard that we had enough time to the other guys so I knew we could gamble a little bit and I was stronger int he sprint."
Here is how the general classification looks after that stage
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
9 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing
Tomorrow is the second rest day for the the riders with a sprint stage on the menu for the riders on Tuesday
That's all from stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia, but join us later for live coverage of the final stage of the Tour of California.