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Giro d'Italia 2010: Stage 9


Good afternoon and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage from stage nine of this year's Giro d'Italia, a 187 kilometre, mainly flat run from Frosinone to Cava de' Tirreni. It's tipped to be one for the sprinters, although with a slight uphill in the finale, an explosive rider could also be in with a chance.

Here's the race assessment, as listed in the stage preview: "Back to flatter roads as the race speeds down to Cava de'Tirreni on the stunning Amalfi coast. There will be little time for sightseeing on what has recently been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Breakaway specialists may get more leeway thanks to the time gaps created by yesterday's first summit finish, but will have to be fully committed to hold off the sprint trains of Greipel, Petacchi and co. The sprinters will want to sort this one out between themselves."

Of course, Petacchi pulled out of the race on yesterday's stage due to bronchitis, so he won't be in the mix today. Normally you'd presume that will make things easier for other sprinters, but it's not always as clear-cut as that. As Lampre - Farnese Vini is now without its main sprinter, there will be less incentive for that team to work to bring back breakaway riders, and thus more pressure on the teams of the other sprinters to do the hard chasing.

Suprisingly, given the prestige of the Giro and the emphasis the home riders put on being ready for the race, there have been no Italian stage winners thus far. Well, that's not strictly true - the team time trial was won by Liquigas, but in terms of individual stage wins, the booty has all been seized by the foreign riders up until now. Damiano Cunego has been trying hard and was second on Saturday; he seems to be in strong form this year and will doubtlessly try again.

Success in the Giro is very important for the Italian teams as the race gets so much media coverage in the country (not surprising, given that it's the national tour). Most of the sponsors have their chief markets in the country, too, so this is the chance for them to really get their names and brands out there. The pressure will also be on from the tifosi.

So let's bring you up to speed with what's been happening thus far on the stage. After nine kilometres of racing, four riders clipped away - Giampaolo Cheula (Footon Servetto), Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank), Michael Barry (Sky) and the Russian long-distance break specialist, Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha).

The lead went up to two minutes 50 seconds after 76 kilometres of racing. Chasing by the HTC Columbia and Garmin Transitions teams started to cut that back, and it dropped to two minutes 24 kilometres later.

84km remaining from 187km

81km remaining from 187km

By the way, we've got some video from the Tour of California to show you, courtesy of Specialized. Have a look here - the first clip concerns the King of the Mountains leader.

76km remaining from 187km

73km remaining from 187km

As most of you probably know by now, Mark Cavendish won yesterday's first stage of the Tour of California. Prior to the race, his HTC Columbia squad had both its team presentation and also a screening of its new Chasing Legends movie, detailing the 2009 Tour de France. You can see something on both here.

The rivalry between Cavendish and his team-mate Andre Greipel has been well documented, although Greipel has done his bit lately to try to pour water, not oil, on the flames. He's declined to comment when asked about the tension between the two. He hasn't succeeded in landing a stage win yet in this race, so it will be interesting to see if Cavendish's win yesterday will spur him on today.

64km remaining from 187km

HTC's Allan Peiper gave his reaction to Cavendish's stage one win yesterday. Check that out here.

The break has gone through the sprint in Caserta, 50 seconds ahead of the bunch. Stamsnijder took the sprint and six bonus seconds there, ahead of Barry, Ignatiev and Chuela. Graeme Brown (Rabobank) was fifth, the first of the peloton.

Garmin Transitions rider Cameron Meyer crashed a little while ago, along with a rider from the Acqua & Sapone team. Both were moving around, but Meyer looked quite shaken. We'll keep you posted as to wether they can continue or not.

55km remaining from 187km

A couple of minutes ago, the bunch passed through what appeared to be a small lake. They are still on course, though, so we have to presume that it was flooding.

Speaking of which, the break has just gone through another massive puddle, with the water nearly up to their hubs. The danger with that is that you can't see potholes or stones that may be in your way, making it a lottery of wheel placement.

The team washing machines must be working overtime in this race... It's been messy.

The bunch is spread right across the road...despite the soakings, the riders appear to be having a bit of fun out there. The pace is most definitely not on at the moment - a real 'piano' stage. The break is working hard, but the bunch has got close and has now decided to take things a little easier for a while. It'll maintain the gap at less than a minute, though. Currently it's 50 seconds.

45km remaining from 187km


Greipell had been suffering with stomach problems earlier in the race and his team-mates reckoned this was costing him a bit of his edge. They felt that once he was over the trouble, he'd be able to finish things off a bit better and nab a stage win. Let's see how he gets on today. Tyler Farrar (Garmin Transitions) will also be determined to hit the line first; he was leading the points classification but slipped back a little yesterday. However he's still very much in the hunt for that jersey.

40km remaining from 187km

Many of the riders are wearing bright yellow rainjackets, regardless of their actual team colours. The Astana team of race leader Alexandre Vinokourov is wearing yellow gillets; peculiar how they don't have them made in their team strip designs, isn't it? It certainly would make it a lot easier to keep tabs on who is who.

And once you suffere a bad hunger knock in a stage race, it's hard to get back to one hundred percent. Best avoided!

30km remaining from 187km

As the riders hurtle towards those showers, it's worth remembering one of the toughest days ever on the Giro, 22 years ago. The stage over the Gavia climb is the stuff of legend, and saw the whole peloton suffering in hypothermic conditions. Andy Hampsten was the big winner that day, finishing second on the stage behind Eric Breukink but, crucially, taking what would prove to be a Giro-winning lead.

24km remaining from 187km

19km remaining from 187km

Ignatiev is really driving this move along. He's got a great style - low, very aero. He's also not afraid to give it a real go. Barry is also very active, while the other two look a little more tired.

16km remaining from 187km

15km remaining from 187km

Evans is in the second half - his BMC riders are driving hard, trying to close this gap. It's perhaps seven or eight seconds now...

13km remaining from 187km

11km remaining from 187km

Thomas Nilsson got in contact with a interesting point. It's in relation to the intermediate sprint earlier, where Graeme Brown picked up a point. He said the following;

9km remaining from 187km

7km remaining from 187km

5km remaining from 187km

Vinokourov sits near the front, as does Pozzato.

3km remaining from 187km

Now Vinokourov leads the bunch, albeit briefly...looks like it's going to be a sprint

The images are breaking up here, so bear with us...the riders are hurtling towards the finish ...last kilometre now..

It's a big windup on this hill....Rubens Bertogliati jumps with about 700 metres to go, getting a gap.. Vinokourov and Evans go after him,and Evans leads out for a long, long way, looking strong. However a rush on the far side of the road sees Matthew Goss (HTC Columbia) come through and take the win - what a finish!

Goss beat Filippo Pozzato (Team Katusha), Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Transitions), Robert Förster (Team Milram) and Federico Canuti (Colnago - CSF Inox) to the line.

Bad news for Carlos Sastre, unfortunately - he lost 1'49" and his run of disappointment continues. He really must be getting frustrated at this point.

That final kilometre really was dramatic... Evans and Vinokourov were there, fighting for the bonuses, but then the sprinters took over. The GC will stay more or less unchanged - don't think any other big names missed out, with the exception of Sastre. But that will be confirmed when the full results are in.

Will be interesting to see if Farrar's high finish puts him back into the points lead...Evans held it today, but finished outside the top ten in the end.

We'll leave things there for now, but full results should be available shortly and will tell if Farrar does indeed take the points jersey. What's certain is that Vinokourov holds on at the top, in terms of the Maglia Rosa. He didn't have much to worry about today, unlike several of his rivals who missed out on the split in the bunch. Cue lots of hectic chasing until the gap was bridged.


Race completed.

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