Two crashes in the wet dent Zakarin's GC aspirations
Katusha rider Ilnur Zakarin was in prime position to become the first Russian since Denis Menchov in 2009 to pull on the maglia rosa only for stage 9 to become a day to forget with the 26-year-old crashing twice and conceding xx time to his overall rivals. Zakarin started the day 23 seconds down on maglia rosa Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quick Step) and finished the stage 2:09 minutes down, slipping from second to 11th.
"Not much to say. I am deeply disappointed. I did not expect to have such a bad luck today. The feelings were really good and I hoped to do a strong race," Zakarin said in a team release.
Zakarin crashed heavily on his left-hand side as the wet weather made a challenging course that much harder, forcing a bike change. A crash inside the final kilometre added insult to injury and one of his worse days on a bike as Zakarin added.
"Two crashes and a bike change in one day - that's too much. But the weather made this course quite dangerous," said Zakarin. "I have some injuries, mostly on the left leg, hip and around my knee. I really hope to recover in the next days. I am motivated to keep on fighting in this Giro. The team supports me and I know I can do well."
While Katusha were left to wonder what could have been, Anton Vorobyev recorded his best result yet in a grand tour with the 25-year-old finishing in fifth place having impressed earlier in the season with two stage wins at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire.
Two crashes and a bike change for Ilnur Zakarin contributed to it being a day to forget for the Russian (TDW Sports)
Matthias Brändle content with second place in Chianti
Former UCI World Hour Record holder Matthias Brändle was the closest rider to the time of stage 9 winner Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) but the Austrian had "no regrets" with his performance. While there was no reward for effort, it was a good day for IAM Cycling who placed two riders in the top three with Vegard Stake Laengen crossed the line seven seconds slower than his teammate.
"The ten seconds that cost me the victory are easy to find," explained Brändle. "Roglic is a few kilos lighter than me, and on that last climb, I was just not able to compete with him. But I have no regrets because I was still able to race over perfectly dry roads."
"I am very happy for myself and for the team," said Brändle. "I didn't do as well in my prologue as I wanted (9th). So today, I was powered by a sense of revenge. After previewing the course, I did a perfect warm-up, and immediately found a good rhythm."
The result saw IAM Cycling place two riders on a WorldTour podium for the first time its history which was also Laengen's best result since joining the team at the end of 2015.
"I did a good recon of the course, and managed to memorize all the potential traps that the curves of the route could have. In addition to that, I have often been a strong time triallists over longer distances. So I am not going to deny myself taking pleasure in this result," said the 195cm Norwegian.
Off-day for Uran in Chianti vineyards
Two years ago at the Giro d'Italia, Rigoberto Uran rode into the maglia rosa with a powerful time trial through the vineyards of Barolo in similar conditions to crucial Chianti test against the clock. The 2015 Colombian champion against the clock had identified stage 8 as crucial to his overall hopes only for a crash to derail his bid for a third appearance on the final Giro podium.
"I crashed on the descent," Uran told Velopro.net. "I tried. It was a difficult day for me. The crash affected me a lot, especially since I also had to change bikes."
While Uran now sits in 15th place on the general classification, 2:56 minutes down in race leader Gianluca Brambilla, he isn't conceding his race just yet with plenty of decisive days of racing to come.
Stage 9 Giro d'Italia highlights
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