By finishing third in the bunch gallop of at the end of stage nine in the Giro d'Italia, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) again leads the points classification after world champion Cadel Evans had worn the red jersey for one day.
The American leads BMC's Australian captain by seven points (59 to 52), while Matt Goss moved to third place on 47 points, now level with Alexandre Vinokourov courtesy of his win in Cava de' Tirreni.
"I was super motivated today," Farrar said after stage nine. "The final kilometre was a bit more difficult than we thought. David [Millar] did a great job to lead me out, but he opened the sprint a bit too early maybe. With 300m to go, we were still a pretty long way away on this straight road."
Farrar was surprised to see Alexandre Vinokourov involved in the final sprint. The Kazakhi rider was obviously motivated to gain more time over the climbers on the relatively flat stage. He put the hammer down with his Astana team about 15 km before the finish. Vino took the opportunity on a small rise prior to the finishing line to try to win the stage and collect the time bonus.
"My only concern was not to lose seconds to Evans," said Vino by way of clarification afterwards."The maglia rosa is firmly on my shoulders, and my legs are in good condition."
Farrar found consolation over the missed opportunity of a stage win by scoring important points for the red jersey. "Fortunately, I get it back, and I hope to keep it again tomorrow," he said. The 230km stage 10 to Bitonto will be another opportunity for sprinters to score.
"It's one of my goals to win stages during the second week as well," said Farrar, who took his first win ever at the Giro last week in the Netherlands (Utrecht). Whether he finishes the three-week race or not remains to be determined.
During the last third of the event, sprinters will only have stage 18, finishing in Brescia, for a chance at a stage win. "If I wear the red jersey, I'll continue," promised Farrar in Cava de' Tirreni. "We'll see where we are after stage 13."
The staff of Garmin-Transitions will have to evaluate in Cesenatico if Farrar's lead over the other sprinters and the general classification contenders is worth keeping him in the race for the last week through the Dolomite mountains.