Pieter Weening has won the ninth stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
The Dutchman won a two-up sprint against Davide Malcame (Ag2r-La Mondiale), after the pair rode clear of a breakaway on the approach to the summit of the final climb of the day, the Passo del Lupo.
Weening’s victory continued the incredible winning run of Orica-GreenEDGE, the Australian team that bagged its first WorldTour victory of 2014 in January at the Tour Down Under, and has already claimed a third of the stages in this year’s Giro, having led the race for two-thirds.
Weening said stage nine was the first of this year’s race to offer riders with his abilities the chance to breakaway.
“Days like this, the break can stay away if there is no one on the general classification,” he said. “I think the closest guy was at nine minutes, so we knew we had a chance to go to the finish line. I was in a good group and one of the strongest guys uphill. For me, it was perfect.”
The day’s other big winner was Domencio Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale). The pint-sized climber rode away from the group of maglia rosa, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), to reclaim 26 seconds on the Australian.
Pozzovivo’s effort takes him to within 10 seconds of third place on GC, a position currently occupied by Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), but still leaves him 1.20 in arrears to Evans.
The 2011 Tour de France winner rode comfortably into Sestola in a group of favourites led home by the winner of yesterday’s eighth stage, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), who also won stage five. With Evans’ team-mate, Steve Morabito, still fifth on GC, the Swiss-American team looks well placed heading into the second rest day.
“I am very, very happy with the team,” Evans said. “They are the ones who have put me in the position to be here now and they rode with the jersey very strongly in control. I think the guys will rest very happily tomorrow.”
A race marred by crashes on rain-soaked roads is finally coming to life, and with six mountain stages and two time trials remaining, there is much to play for.
Giro d’Italia 2014: stage nine – result
1) Pieter Weening (NED) – Orica-GreenEDGE – 4.25.51
2) Davide Malacarne (ITA) – Europcar – ST
3) Domenico Pozzovivio (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +42″
4) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida +1.08
5) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep -ST
6) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin
7) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing
8) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Team Sky
9) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff-Saxo
10) Fabio Duarte (COL) – Team Colombia
1) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing – 38.49.34
2) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +57″
3) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkofff-Saxo
4) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1.20
5) Steve Morabito (SUI) – BMC Racing +1.31
6) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +1.39
7) Diego Ulissi – Lampre-Merda +1.43
8) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin +1.44
9) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +1.45
10) Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) – Trek +1.49