Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won stage ten of the Giro d’Italia in the medieval city of Assisi to move into the overall race lead.
The stage – a rolling profile with a fierce two-part climb to finish – looked tailor-made for a punchy rider in the mould of Rodriguez and this year’s La Flèche Wallonne champion duly delivered on Assisi’s cobbled, narrow streets.
Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel), Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Matthias Brandle (NetApp) and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) formed an early break which stayed away until seven kilometres to go, when the combined force of of the Garmin-Barracuda and Katusha, working on behalf of previous race leader Ryder Hesjedal and Rodriguez respectively, reeled them in.
Team Sky’s Rigberto Uran attacked under the two kilometre banner at the top of the the first of the two steep finishing climbs, and gained a small gap on the chasing group on the subsequent descent, with John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale) on his wheel.
But the duo couldn’t hold the advantage as the roads ramped up for a second time, with Rabobank’s Tom Jelte Slagters leading the charge at the front of a strung out and select group of riders.
Rodriguez then unleashed his trademark kick to claim his first Giro d’Italia stage victory, with NetApp’s Bartosz Huzarski claiming second ahead of Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti.
Hesjedal finished sixth on the stage, six second behind Rodriguez, who earned an additional 20-second time bonus to victory to move into the maglia rosa for the first time in his career.
Giro d’Italia stage ten – result
1) Joaquin Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha – 4:25:05 hours
2) Bartosz Huzarski (POL) – NetApp +2″
3) Giovanni Visconti (ITA) – Movistar – same time
4) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Colnago-CSF Inox +6″
5) John Gadret (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale – same time
6) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Barracuda
7) Tom Jelte Slagter (NED) – Rabobank
8) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
9) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Astana
10) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team Sky
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha – 40:27:34 hours
2. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Barracuda +17″
3. Paolo Tiralongo (ITA) – Astana +32″
4. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Astana +52″
5. Benat Inxuasti (SPA) – Movistar +52″
6. Ivan Basso (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale +57″
7. Damiano Caruso (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale +1’02”
8. Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +1’03”
9. Eros Capecchi (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale +1’09”
10. Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team Sky +1’10”