The 88th edition of the Giro d'Italia returned to the traditional script yesterday as Fassa Bortolo led out super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi to the stage victory he's been chasing ever since the race began, ten eventful days before in Reggio Calabria.
The day's early action involved Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner), Mads Christensen (Quick.Step) and Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) who escaped after just a kilometer and built a three and a half minute lead before Baumann fell off the pace. Nineteen kilometers from the end of the 139km stage the Fassa-powered peloton scooped up Christensen and Krauss.
But instead of immediately taking the front to control the final dozen kilometers, Fassa allowed the other sprinters' teams and those of the GC contenders to jockey for position, before taking over at 3km to go. Petacchi had three team-mates to lead him out in the final kilometer and no-one could challenge the lead-out of Alberto Ongarato and Marco Velo, who took Petacchi to 200 metres to go and left the finishing touch to Ale-Jet.
American Discovery Channel rider Tom Danielson was the only DNF of stage nine, climbing into the team car at the 10 km mark with knee pain. Danielson's knee has been bothering him since the Tour of Georgia. "I probably injured it on the climb to Brasstown Bald, because it was cold," he told Cyclingnews before stage nine.