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.

British

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

British

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

imageAll the Brits at the Giro: (l-r) Charly Wegelius, David Millar, British ambassador, Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas and Steven Cummings

Yuriy Krivtsov and Mickael BuffazBreak of the day: Yuriy Krivtsov and Mickael Buffaz stuck it out for most of the stage before getting caught

Bradley Wiggins on stage nineBradley Wiggins on stage nine

David MillarDinner time for David Millar, favourite for Tuesday’s time trial

imageNot happy: Mark Cavendish protests at being blocked at the finish line

imageGiovanni 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