Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) won stage nine of the Giro d’Italia after a crash on the final corner ruled a number of sprinters, including Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE), out of contention.
Farnese Vini’s Filippo Pozzato and Goss collided on the 90 degree left-hand bend with 400m to go and hit the ground hard, bringing down a number of riders, with Cavendish forced to take quick evasive action before going over the handlebars but emerging unhurt.
With much of the peloton held up by the crash, Spaniard Ventoso outsprinted Italians Fabio Felline (Androni Giocatolli) and Giocomo Nizzolo (RadioShack) to claim the second Giro stage win of his career.
A three-man breakaway of Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Martin Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Brian Bulgac (Lotto-Belisol) jumped from the front of the peloton shortly after the start of the 166km stage from San Giorgio del Sannio to Frosinone.
But, with Team Sky controlling the pace at the front of the peloton in order to help setup a sprint finish for Cavendish, the trio’s lead was limited to four minutes and ten seconds. Bulgac and Cazaux gave up the ghost 30km from the finish, while Keizer pressed on before being swept up by the peloton with 20km remaining.
A series of small climbs in the final kilometres led to an animated finish, with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), just nine seconds off the overall lead, attacking with six kilometres to go, forcing Garmin-Barracuda to move to the front of the bunch to protect Ryder Hesjedal’s maglia rosa.
With Rodriquez reeled in, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) then had a dig with two kilometres of racing left but the Australian’s move soon faltered, with the peloton back together and a bunch sprint looming large.
But the crowd was denied the finale they had been waiting for when stage three winner Goss overshot the corner and was forced to brake hard, resulting in a chain reaction which brought the peloton to a shuddering halt, leaving Ventoso to claim victory from a select group of riders who avoided the pile-up, with Hesjedal finishing seventh to defend his overall lead.
Giro d’Italia stage nine – result
1) Francisco Ventoso (SPA) – Movistar – 3:39:15 hours
2) Fabio Felline (ITA) – Androni-Giocattoli
3) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
4) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale
5) Daniel Schorn (AUT) – Team NetApp
6) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha
7) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Barracuda
8) Matthias Brandle (AUT) – Team NetApp
9) Manuel Belletti (ITA) – Ag2r La Mondiale
10) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Orica-GreenEDGE
1) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Barracuda 36:02:40 hours
2) Joaquim Rodriguez – (SPA) – Katusha +9″
3) Paolo Tiralongo – (ITA) – Astana +15″
4) Benat Intxausti (SPA) – Movistar +35″
5) Ivan Basso (ITA) Liquigas-Cannondale +40″
6) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale +45″
7) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +46″
8) Frank Schleck (LUX) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek +48″
9) Eros Capecchi (ITA) Liquigas-Cannondale +52″
10) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team Sky +53″