Giro d'Italia: Ventoso Takes Stage 9, Hesjedal Keeps Pink

Crash in penultimate corner takes out sprinters, including Cavendish
Staff Writer

Franciso Ventoso of Team Movistar took the win at Monday’s Stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia, an outcome that no one—including Ventoso—would have predicted just moments before.

The day started in San Giorgio del Sannio and finished in Frosinone, where chaos broke out once again—right at the final sprint of the stage. As bikes and bodies were strewn across the penultimate left-hander, the final straightway turned into a free-for-all. Ventoso was the fastest rider left upright in position to capitalize on the situation, and he surged ahead, passing every last rider in dramatic fashion to take the win.

Ryder Hesjedal of team Garmin-Barracuda holds onto the pink jersey for his third day in a row—but he only has a precious nine-second lead. Both world champ Mark Cavendish of team Sky and Matt Goss of team GreenEDGE, who won the sprint finish of Stage Three, were taken down in the scrum. See the video recap of the entire stage, below, or skip ahead to about the 2:35 mark to see the finish-line carnage.

Tomorrow’s finish is expected to produce its own sort of fireworks, even if riders manage to stay up in the last stretch. The last bit of of Tuesday’s Stage 10 will end in an explosive hill-climb finish, which will demand riders stomp the gas pedal at the end of a long, 186-kilometer day. Halfway though a Grand Tour, there’s sure to be some suffering as riders gun for the critical time bonuses given to the first few finishers. As the Giro closes in on its final week, the racing is starting to get serious, as mistakes in these latter stages become more difficult to make up.

The final 4km of Tuesday’s 186km Stage 10 will greet riders with a one-two punch—the first 1.6-kilometer climb sees sections as steep as 15 percent. After a short (one-kilometer) descent looms the final 1.2-kilometer climb to the finish line, atop a Category 4 climb.