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Stage 9 wrap-up: Vaitkus breaks through

Tomas Vaitkus (AG2R, C)

Tomas Vaitkus (AG2R, C) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

24 year-old Lithuanian Tomas Vaitkus (AG2R) scored his biggest career win after turning pro four years ago, taking out the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia in Termoli in a very close sprint. Vaitkus edged out Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), who initially thought he had won the stage, while Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) was a frustrated third. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) placed fourth - the first sprint that he has lost in this Giro - but he was clearly suffering after being dropped on a climb with 25 km to go. The leader's jersey stayed with Ivan Basso (CSC), who was well protected by his teammates all day.

The stage was a short one, starting in Francavilla Al Mare and following the coast for most of the way until a right hand turn inland presented some hillier terrain. Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R Prevoyance) and Cyrille Monnerais (Française de Jeux) broke away after 5 km and gained a maximum of 4'20 after 57 km, with Quick.Step riding in pursuit for Paolo Bettini. On the climb up to Guglionesi, Krivtsov dropped Monnerais, but was caught with 23 km to go, just as Robbie McEwen went off the back of the peloton. McEwen lost 40 seconds, but was able to chase back on with the help of his teammates, but the effort cost him in the final sprint, where Vaitkus hit out from 200m to go, and was unable to be passed by either Bettini or Pollack.

See also: Stage 9 full results, report & photos and .

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