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Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 9

Good morning and welcome to live coverage from stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia.

We're on the start line right now with the riders setting off in just a few minutes. Alberto Contador has just gone passed us in the magalia rosa, a smile across his face after he came through yesterday's major test in the mountains. He faces another examination today though and Porte and Aru will be looking to attack for the second day in a row.

Giro d’Italia stage 9 preview: Peloton faces second tough mountain test on Sunday | http://t.co/oC0SHOp5wu http://t.co/UfUa1cH3KQ

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 17th May 2015 09:46:05

At the sign in for stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia http://t.co/SDyg1bbRso

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 17th May 2015 09:43:48

We have three categorised climbs on the road between Benevento to San Giorgio del Sannio with a total of 4,000 metres of vertical climbing. According to Alasdair Fotheringham, "the six-kilometre second category ascent of Passo Serra, 12 kilometres from the finish" is the crunch point.

 

"The crunch moment, just as La Spezia, could come on the last climb of the stage before a fast descent to the finish. In this case though, the six-kilometre second category ascent of Passo Serra, 12 kilometres from the finish, after a deceptively easy first section is a lot steeper in its second half. Apparently it has a more difficult descent to the finish, too, and it is then followed by a short, steadily rising unclassified ascent to the last three kilometres of flatter roads leading to the finish in the town of San Giorgio del Sannio."

 

You can read his full stage preview, right here.

Here at the start most of the peloton have made their way to the start line and we'll roll out through the neutralized zone in just a few minutes. Contador, is near the front, where you'd expect him to be, his team nestled around him.

Here's where we stand on GC after eight stages of racing.

 

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 32:40:07
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:04
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:22
4 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:30
5 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:42
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:00
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:01:16
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:24
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:01:34
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:01:38

Three main talking points from yesterday. The first was that Contador put time into his rivals - just two seconds - but an impressive rider given his shoulder injury. Porte and Aru will have been expecting a different outcome given the Spaniard's injury.


Secondly, the Uran comeback continues. He matched his rivals on the final climb, and although he didn't attack he's finding his feet in the race. He's 1;24 down on GC but that deficit will be wiped out and more in the individual time trial if he rides like he did twelve months ago. The podium, the win even, is still within reach.

 

Lastly, we saw Chaves crack and fall from the top ten. He's now 23rd, 7:50 down. The young Orica rider has been strong so far but he suffered on the final ascent and will not be targeting stage wins.

The peloton roll out, Tinkoff Saxo near the front as they take on the neutralized zone. No need for jackets or leg warmers at the start and we can see the maglia rosa clearly on the front of the peloton. Attacks, surely from the gun today though, as the terrain really suits a break.

Away from the Giro and Bradley Wiggins has failed to beat Alex Dowsett's 10-mile record in a time trial in Hull. The current time trial world champion won the event in 17:58 minutes but that time was 38 seconds shy of Dowsett's record on the course held on the A63 between North Ferriby and North Cave. You can read the story, here.

Away from the Giro and Bradley Wiggins has failed to beat Alex Dowsett's 10-mile record in a time trial in Hull. The current time trial world champion won the event in 17:58 minutes but that time was 38 seconds shy of Dowsett's record on the course held on the A63 between North Ferriby and North Cave. You can read the story, here.

Alberto Contador talked to the press after yesterday's Giro d'Italia stage and you can watch the video here.

While, Eisel has talked about rider safety and weather protocol at the Giro d'Italia in this video interview.

Sky takes control on Baldy, but Alaphilippe takes the win | http://t.co/U3YFUhcXU6 http://t.co/ZrwH4aDQYz http://t.co/EspM7lmwr0

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 17th May 2015 10:17:05

For all the latest from the key mountain stage at the Tour of California, click here. The race promises to come down to the wire with Peter Sagan just a couple of seconds off the lead. Mark Cavendish will have to try and take the bonus seconds and the stage win in order to stop the Tinkoff rider.

We're climbing from the off today as we leave Benevento. For those that suffered horribly yesterday it's hardly the roll-out they would have wanted. It may at least see the early break form and the pace drop off in the bunch, however.

No such luck for the riders hoping for a gentle start. The pace is electric from the moment the flag drops and we've already covered 10km. The peloton has split into two segments and the first one contains around 50 riders.

Contador is in the second group but the gap is just a few seconds for now. Meanwhile, Kruijswijk has gone on the attack once again. He put in a huge shift yesterday but was caught and dropped on the final climb.

This is how things stand in the KOM competition.

 

1 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team 39 pts
2 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 19
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 15
4 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida 15
5 Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha 15
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 15
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 14
8 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF 14
9 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling 12
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 12

191km remaining from 215km

24km covered and the peloton re-group as one, the early attacks nullified. A few more riders try again almost immediately.

Hesjedal was one of the riders who tried to get away in that early move, along with Ulissi, Slagter and a few others.

This could be a difficult day for the Tinkoff Saxo team to control the race so they need to be happy with the composition of the break.

Nearly 4000m of difference in altitude in today's hilly stage. Besides two 2nd category climbs, almost no flat roads. http://t.co/RtpXY9WUEW

@TrekFactory Sun, 17th May 2015 10:41:19

A brief lull in the action, so why not head over to our Youtube channel where you can find all our videos from the race so far. We have race highlights, interviews and bikes from InCycle and our videographer on the ground Laura Fletcher. The channel is just here.

175km remaining from 215km

Almost 40km of the stage covered already and more and more attacks from the peloton. Sylvain Chavane is the next man to try his luck but Tinkoff Saxo are determined mood and snuff that one out almost instantly. They're keen on keeping this together until at least the first major climb of the day.

Bole was also in that move with Chavanel  - neither rider a threat on GC  - but it's chased down straight away. Tinkoff Saxo on the front and setting a fast pace with 165km to go.

The pace at the front of the peloton is too much for a lot of riders and there's a split with 50 or so dropping back. They include stage winners Intxausti and Viviani.

165km remaining from 215km

50km covered so far as the race begins to climb towards Grottolella with an uncategorised ascent.

Team have numbers around Porte, and the Australian is near the front of the peloton with Aru and Contador also well placed but it's the Russian team who lead the bunch at the moment.

Another volley of attacks and around 11 riders go clear, this time involving Moinard , Hesjedal , Kruijswijk , Tiralongo , Betancur , and Geschke. Will Tinkoff ease off?

 

150km remaining from 215km

Those in the main break are Betancur (ALM),, Tiralongo (AST), Colbrelli (BAR), Moinard (BMC), Elissonde (FDJ), Herrada (MOV), Hesjedal, Slagter (TCG), Geschke (TGA), Belkov (KAT), and Kruijswijk (TLJ).

 

Moinard is the best placed rider on GC, 4:45 down on Contador. Interestingly Astana have a man up the road in Tiralongo, Contador's former teammate. They tried sending Rosa on the attack early but this move may have stuck. It means Tinkov will continue setting the pace for the time being. We're still around 25km from the first climb.

The 11 leaders have pushed on and they now hold 3:45 over the peloton.

144km remaining from 215km

A brutally fast start to the stage seems to have finally settled with the peloton easing off slightly. It's allowing for the 11-man move to extend their advantage over the peloton to four minutes. Moinard will soon be the virtual leader on the road.

Kruijswijk and Betancur meet again, having linked up in yesterday's move. Both riders had hopes for the top ten coming into the race. The Dutchman will probably move up during the race and his aspirations aren't entirely over. If he can remain consistent and put in a decent TT he could be top 15 by the end of next week. The KOM jersey could be his top aim however but he'll need to take major points today.

140km remaining from 215km

The gap moves out to 4:15 with 140km to go.

DNF: Manabu Ishibashi (Nippo - Vini Fantini) has pulled out of the race.

130km remaining from 215km

Back to work for the peloton who now seem content on holding the break at 4'30 with 130km to go.

Almost onto the lower slopes of the first climb of the day. The 11 leaders still with a 4:18 gap over the Tinkoff-Saxo led peloton.

Onto the second cat climb of Monte Terminio and the leaders move back out to 4'30. From the crest of the climb there's a long descent into the valley before an intermediate sprint and then the start of the second climb of the day.

Two hours in the saddle and we've averaged 41.6 km / h. Moinard still a few seconds off the virtual race lead, with the peloton keen to keep the gap below five minutes.

The leaders are closing on the top of the climb. Steven Kruijswijk will be gunning for the KOM points, no doubt, as they'll send him closer to the jersey.

120km remaining from 215km

A reminder of who we have in the break: Betancur (ALM),, Tiralongo (AST), Colbrelli (BAR), Moinard (BMC), Elissonde (FDJ), Herrada (MOV), Hesjedal, Slagter (TCG), Geschke (TGA), Belkov (KAT), and Kruijswijk (TLJ).

The break take a few more seconds on the peloton and finally Moinard is the maglia rosa on the road.

A couple more kilometers and couple more seconds for the 11 leaders who continue to share the workload. The gap is now just a shade over five minutes at 5'04.

At the top of the climb, this is how the points shake out:

 

1 Geschke (TGA) 15 Points
2 Betancur (ALM) 8
3 Tiralongo (AST) 6
4 Kruijswijk (TLJ) 4
5 Hesjedal (TCG) 2
6 Moinard (BMC) 1

This is how the KOM competition looks after that first climb of the day:

 

Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team 39 pts
2 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 19
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 19

110km remaining from 215km

And on the descent the 11 leaders extend their gap to the peloton to 5'50.

A tactic for later in the race? Sergio Paulinho has gone clear of the peloton and is a minute ahead of the bunch. They're on the descent now with the 11-man break about to start climbing once again.

This move from Sergio Paulinho may ease some of the pressure on Tinkoff to chase the break but it also provides Contador with possible support later in the stage. He's been isolated on the final climbs a few times in the race so far, especially when Astana put the hammer down.

One rider who has found some form, 11 years after winning this race is Damino Cunego.

“I’ve got good physical condition right now, that’s true, and I could get a decent place on the general classification but we’ll have to evaluate things after the time trial. I could lose a lot of ground there and at that point, I might have to start thinking about stage wins instead of the GC.” You can read the full story, here.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF) has been distanced by the group but as yet there's no time check.

Everyone is climbing, with 92km to go. The gaps are coming down though with the break at 3'20 and the Colle Molella underway. Paulinho just has ten seconds on the maglia rosa group.

82km remaining from 215km

The pace  at the front of the race increases and the break are lined out onn the climb with Cannondale setting thepace. There's an attack from the peloton and it's Cataldo. Astana are not hanging around.

Cataldo isn't holding back and he's opening up a gap. He's in the top ten on GC so this will concern Contador to some degree. The break are at 2'59.

The entire bunch have lined out with Tinkoff setting the pace. And Chaves is cracking. He's losing ground on the peloton.

Cataldo has around 50m on the peloton but he's looking around to see who might jump over to him.

Tinkoff are down to three riders so they're spending a lot of energy as they pull back Cataldo who still looks as fresh as a daisy.

Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Alpecin) was top of the climb and he will wear the KOM jersey at the end of the stage. He leads with 50 points.

On the descent a few more Tinkoff riders are able to move up and Contador has his entire team working on the front of the peloton. 74km to go and the gap is at 2'34.

A race photographers moto has crashed on the descent. Thankfully he and his pilot are on their feet but a red flag has come out so the peloton will ease off slightly.

At the head of the break Slagter has attacked and gone clear.

Carlos Betancur sits up and goes to the back, having a word with Tiralongo, perhaps asking him to sit up so that Tinkoff will call off the chase.

Slagter takes the three second time bonus, the gap to the peloton back up to four minutes.

Slagter has put a minute into the break as he presses on. The lead to the break is out to 5'00. Behind Slagter, Hesjedal is countering attacks from the main break.

Wegelius pulls up to Slagter and gives him an update on the situation. The Dutch rider has 61km to go.

Manuele Boaro pulls up to Contador and the rest of his teammates and offers around drinks and food.

A puncture for Matthews who has to drop back and change his rear wheel.

Slagter now has 1'45 over the rest of the chase group with 56km to go.

On a shallow descent Slagter tucks himself over the front of his bars in order to cut through the air. He's done a fine job at the moment and pulling out more time on the main break, the peloton at 4'59.

Five Tinkoff riders on the front of the peloton with eight from Astana just being them. Team Sky are getting another free ride today.

Wegelius pulls up to Slagter once more and gives him an update on the situation. The former Mapei rider knows this race so well so his advice is worth listening to.

Contador has drifted back briefly and sits just behind the Team Sky train. 52km to go in the stage.

Slagter now has 6'21 on the main field but the pace is starting to increase. Contador is still just behind Porte though, which is an interesting move from the race leader. Moinard meanwhile leads the main break as they take on another short climb.

46km remaining from 215km

Five Tinkoff riders are near the front and setting the pace at the moment but the gap to Slagter goes out to 6'42 with 46km to go.

The Katusha team car almost takes out Hesjedal and the Canadian offers up a few choice words.

Finally the Canadian has some assistance from Wegelius who has dropped back from Slagter, who has 1'49 on the main break.

Slagter is on another short climb but he's looking strong. There's still a long way to go at 42km from the finish but he's holding 5'52 on the bunch. Betancur and Tiralongo try and up the pace in the main break but the pace slows once more.

And now Tiralongo has attacked with purpose from the main break and he's gone clear.

Herrada has made it over to the Astana rider.

Contador will know that Tiralongo is on the move but the plan shouldnt change too much for the race leader. He just needs his team to take him to the foot of the final climb.

The move from Herrada and Tiralongo has been brought back but the main break are looking tired.

Bronzini wins Chongming Island World Cup: http://t.co/NXyiRkMbYZ http://t.co/99SDyzGUlW

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 17th May 2015 14:46:47

Slagter into the final 35km of action and his gap at 5'45. He's doing a sterling ride today as Contador links back up with his team at the front of the peloton. Slagter has a real chance of taking the stage today if he can keep this gap before the final climb of the stage.

Hesjedal is having an easy ride, just sitting at the back of the main break and countering moves as he sees them. The Dutchman almost overcocks a corner though as he sees his lead over the main break drop to 1'29.

Slagter > 1'28 break > 5' 39" bunch 32 km to go / all'arrivo #giro

@giroditalia Sun, 17th May 2015 14:59:32

Slagter is in a great position here. He has 1'34 on the chase and 5'55 on the peloton. If the break continues to fracture he could hang on but there are a number of attacks from that move and Belkov has been dropped. There's  headwind so that won't help the lone leader.

He's on a winding descent at the moment and he takes a tight corner perfectly. Back in the bunch and Tinkoff continue to just tap out a steady pace.

Slagter runs down the descent towards the Pass Serra, the final climb of the day as Belkov comes back to the main break.

The pace has been upped once more in the main break as they realise that they need to move now if they want to win the stage.

Tosatto is currently setting the pace for the maglia rosa group as we towards the Passo Serra, a climb that has pitches of around 10 per cent.

Hesjedal continues to just sit at the back of the group that's chasing. The Canadian is in a prime position to counter should Slagter crack on the final climb.

But Slagter is setting a fine pace and has 1'45 over the chase with the peloton still at 5'22. Could Cannondale Garmin be heading for their second win of the race?

Still no sign from Astana yet who have allowed Tinkoff to set the pace all day. Will they attack the race leader on the final climb?

Slagter is now climbing the final ascent of the race. Just 16km to go.

Kenny Elissonde (FDJ.fr) has attacked from the main break and he's chasing Slagter as he takes on the lower slopes of the climb.

But Tiralongo comes over the top and blows passed the FDJ man.

But Tiralongo comes over the top and blows passed the FDJ man.

15km to go for Slagter as he rounds another corner on the climb. Tiralongo is brought back but the main group is thinning out.

The main field about to hit the climb too as Tinkoff set the pace with Contador in second position. Rogers with him.

Betancur attacks but he's brought back by Hesjedal.

Slagter has 1'47 on the chase so he's still looking good for the stage win.

As Rogers takes over on the front of the maglia rosa group. Herrada has attacked and Moinard is about to crack.

Herrada is brough back and the gap goes up to 1'49 but the maglia rosa group are at 3'49.

Slagter has 13.9km to go as Hesjedal marks every move but Tiralongo goes again but Betancur and Hesejdal match him.

Contador has two men, Aru three, Porte three.

But Tiralongo is finally clear of the main break and trying to catch the lone leader.

Does Slagter have enough of a gap on the Astana man? It could be close as Kreuziger sets the pace for the maglia rosa group.

Contador's group is down to around 40 riders and Sky look strong at this point, strong in numbers as they move up.

Uran, Cunego and Aru are all there as Kreuziger churns a huge gear.

The entire race is separated by less than two minutes with 13km to go.

Aru makes sure he's on Contador's wheel. Who will attack first? It's Aru and Contador chases him.

Uran can't follow but Porte and Landa can.

Aru, Porte, Contador and Landa are clear.

So Landa now sets the pace. They want to distance Uran.

Uran is in trouble because Landa is pulling this maglia rosa group clear.

The pace isn't constant because Landa just keeps on accelerating.

Porte and Contador will be content as they want to eliminate Uran from the podium.

Slagter is around 500m from the top but Tiralongo is closing.

Astana could end the stage with three men in the lead group as Tiralongo is only 100m off Slagter.

The Contador group is around 30 seconds down on Slagter so it's all coming back together before the final long drag to the finishline.

10km remaining from 215km

Correction, Slagter has 1'21 on the maglia rosa group as they crest the final climb. 10km to go.

Landa leads Contador, Aru, Porte and Contador on the descent.

Uran is 27 seconds down on his main GC contenders.

Tiralongo catches Slagter with 7,9km to go.

Aru moves onto Contador's wheel. There is a long drag to the finish so we could see further attacks. Contador wants to set the pace. He talks to Aru and they realise they can put more time into Uran ahead of the time trial.

So Aru takes a turn, Porte, the only man not to contribute.

Slagter and Tiralongo have 1'27 over the maglia rosa group.

Landa forces Porte into working. They all need to contribute if they want to put the most time possible into Uran.

Slagter hesitates when coming through to work with Tiralongo.

5km remaining from 215km

5km to go for the two leaders.

All Tiralongo on the front as Slagter cracks. Astana set for the stage win with 4.2km to go.

Landa is taking a huge turn for the Aru group who have 30 seconds on Uran.

Uran has lost almost a minute, Landa on the big ring.

Slagter has been caught by the early break.

Landa finally pulls over and Contador takes a turn on the front.

Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) with 2km to go has attacked. Can he catch Tiralongo? The gap might be too big.

Well Tiralongo is giving thumbs up to the cameras with 1.4km to go.

Uran is over a minute down on the maglia rosa group.

Tiralongo comes up to the line and takes the stage win.

Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) is coming in and should take second. And does so.

And Aru kicks for the line and he's created a gap on Contador. Will that put him in pink?

Contador couldn't match the sprint from Aru so he may have lost a second or two but he'll still lead the race overall going into the rest day.

Confirmed that Contador loses a second to Aru and Astana have three men inside the top five at the Giro d'Italia. Uran loses around a minute though.

1 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:50:31
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:21
3 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:23
4 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
5 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
8 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:27
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:56

General classification after stage 9
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 38:31:35
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:22
4 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:02
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24

Contador walks onto the podium. He'll be satisfied with the job done today, only losing a second to his main rival. Porte hasnt' been to the podium once so he's in the mix and will still be fresh.

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

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