Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) went from zero to hero to win stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia nine days after causing the huge crash which brought down Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) on stage three.
The Italian rounded the final right-hand bend in second place with 450m to go and accelerated away from the field to claim his first Grand Tour stage victory.
Cavendish looked to exit the 90-degree corner in a huge gear and struggled to gain the momentum to challenge for victory, with the Manx Missile forced to settle for fourth.
However, the world champion did move into the red points jersey after Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) was distanced on the final climb, while Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) defended his overall lead.
Six riders – Simone Ponzi (Astana), Stefan Denifl (Vacansoleil-DCM), Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank), Mickaël Delage (FDJ-BigMat), Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) and Adrian Saez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) – attacked early on the stage which, at 255km, is the longest in this year’s Giro d’Italia.
The group gained an advantage of more than four minutes at one point but, with the peloton looming large, Boaro attacked his fellow escapees with 30km remaining before being swept up with 14km to the line at the foot of the category four Vico climb.
Four riders, led by Denis Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM), attacked on the climb, before Astana’s Roman Kreuziger and Lampre-ISD’s Michele Scarponi bridged the gap to spark the peloton into action to reel in the escapees.
Cavendish successfully crested the climb in the peloton, installing the 26-year-old as favourite for victory, and his Sky team-mates set a relentless pace at the front of a strung-out bunch.
Technical finale’s have contributed to a number of crashes at this year’s Giro and, while the peloton successfully negotiated two tight bends, the third brought down a number of riders, leaving only a select group of riders to fight the sprint, with Cavendish too far back after the final corner to contest a place on the podium, leaving Ferrari to claim victory by a comfortable margin.