Mark Cavendish (High Road) missed out on a second stage victory at the Giro d?Italia on Sunday after tangling with Italy?s Tiziano Dall?Antonia (CSF Group) in the final five hundred metres.
Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) won the fast sprint, beating Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) just a few miles from the world champion?s home town. Robbie McEwen (Silence) was third and Erik Zabel (Milram) was fourth.
Cavendish was seventh. As he crossed the line he angrily pointed at Dall?Antonia and shouted at him for getting in the way.
Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) finished in the bunch and retained the pink jersey.
?I took a few risks but the important thing is I won,? Bennati said, happy to be winning again after losing to Cavendish in Catanzaro last Tuesday.
?I was going to put my arms up to celebrate before the line, but when I saw Paolo coming up I threw my bike at the line and just got it.?
“I was a bit lucky. I?m riding well but the sprint was a bit crazy and in the final kilometre I had to do a sprint to get on the right wheel and then another good sprint to win. You can only do that when you?re on form.?
?I?m sorry I beat Bettini because I know the stage is close to his home town, but I wanted to win because it?s the only stage that finishes in Tuscany where I live too. Me and Bettini congratulated each other after the sprint. We?re enemies during the race but we?re good friends when we?re not sprinting shoulder to shoulder.?
Bennati’s next objective is stage 12 to Carpi on Thursday, and stage 13 Cittadella on Friday before the Giro heads into the mountains.
?There aren?t many chances for the sprinters in this Giro and so they?re basically the last two flat stages of the race,? he said.
?I?m sure many of my rivals will go home after the stage to Cittadella. I?ll try and make it to the finish in Milan and win the points jersey, but the final week in the mountains is terrible.”
“Perhaps I?ve got a chance on stage 17 to Locarno but everybody left in the Giro will be very tired by then. The finish in Varese is not that bad for me but it?ll be difficult to control the racing so late on. If a break of ten riders go clear, nobody will chase them.”
“It?s a pity I don?t have a chance of winning in Milan because I?ve already won sprints in Paris and Madrid at the end of the Tour and the Vuelta. This year the Giro ends with a time trial and so I?ve got no chance.?
The 179 riders left in the Giro d?Italia can enjoy the first rest day on Monday after a long transfer by bus across Italy to the Adriatic town of Pesaro.
The Giro resumes on Tuesday with the 39.4km individual time trial from Pesaro to Urbino. David Millar (Slipstream) is one of the favourites for this hilly test against the clock.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008 STAGE NINE: RESULTS
1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 218km in 5hours 30min 6secs
2. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto
4. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
5. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
7. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road
8. Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Ita) CSF Navigare
9. Julian Dean (Nzl) Slipstream
10. Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2r all same time.
128. Steven Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 4secs
132. David Millar (GB) Slipstream
134. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas all same time
149. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road at 3min 9secs
164. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld at 7min 36secs
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE NINE
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step in 42hours 14mins 16secs
2. Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner at 34secs
3. Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR at 5min 53secs
4. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR at 7min 27secs
5. Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval at 7min 32secs
6. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Caisse D’Epargne at 7min 33secs
7. Felix Rafael Cardenas (Col) Barloworld at 7min 46secs
8. Alberto Contador (Esp) Astana at 7min 56secs
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas at 8min 11secs
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 8min 15secs
90. David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 37min 46secs
146. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld at 1hour 6min 57secs
151. Steven Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 1hour 10min 44secs
153. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 1hour 12min 6secs
154. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road at 1hour 13min 28secs
161. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road at 1hour 16min 52secs
POINTS CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE NINE
1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 80 points
2. Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval 69
3. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step 59
4. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram 44
5. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR 42
6. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 42
7. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road 41
All the Brits at the Giro: (l-r) Charly Wegelius, David Millar, British ambassador, Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas and Steven Cummings
Break of the day: Yuriy Krivtsov and Mickael Buffaz stuck it out for most of the stage before getting caught
Bradley Wiggins on stage nine
Dinner time for David Millar, favourite for Tuesday’s time trial
Not happy: Mark Cavendish protests at being blocked at the finish line
Giovanni Visconti: Another day in pink
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery. New photos added daily
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule