The medieval city of Assisi provided a stunning backdrop for a thrilling finale which saw Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez claim victory and move into the maglia rosa as a result.
A relaxed Rodriguez sits primed, ready for action, ahead of a stage in which he started as favourite for victory.
World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) and maglia rosa Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) share a joke in the peloton.
The rolling 186km stage, classified as medium mountains, showcased some of Italy’s best scenery.
That included the stunning medieval city of Assisi, where fans lined the street waiting for riders to do battle on the steep climb to the finish.
The narrow streets were the perfect battleground.
Katusha and Garmin-Barracuda controlled the pace at the front of the peloton in aid of their team leader’s, Rodriguez and Hesjedal.
That put Rodriguez in the perfect position going into the climb and, in this picture, the pint-sized Spaniard sits patiently on the wheel of Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo, ready to attack
And attack he did, surging away from NetApp’s Bartosz Huzarski and Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti to claim his first Giro stage victory.
Cavendish finished the stage alongside fellow sprinter Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas.
Rodriguez earned a 20-second time bonus for victory to move into the overall lead, 17 seconds ahead of Hesjedal.