By Nigel Wynn
Giro d'Italia stage nine photo gallery, by Graham Watson>>
Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) has won today's city centre stage of the 2009 Giro d'Italia in Milan, taking his first solo win in this year's race.
After Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes) denied Cavendish the victory on stage two by sweeping around him, Cavendish and his team were leaving nothing to chance.
It was a clinically executed sprint, and confirms the Manxman's position in the top echelon of the world's best fastmen.
Before the race kicked off last weekend in Venice, Cavendish had already singled out this stage as one he could win, and he duly delivered a textbook victory for his dominant Columbia squad.
Cavendish's victory today gives Columbia-Highroad three consecutive wins, after Edvald Boasson Hagen and Kanstantsin Siutsou won the previous two stages. You can also add a win in the opening team time trial and Cavendish and team-mate Thomas Lovkvist's subsequent spells in the pink leader's jersey to the squad's 2009 Giro success.
In the fight for second place, Allan Davis (Quick Step) took the honours with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) in third. Double stage winner Petacchi was off the pace in fifth. Britain's Ben Swift (Katusha) and Ian Stannard (ISD) were 12th and 20th.
With no time gaps awarded and no time bonuses given on the stage, there was no change at the top of the overall classification table. Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) still leads Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia-Highroad) to earn the right to don the pink leader's jersey.
How it happened
After a day of action-less riding thanks to a rider protest (see below), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) broke the deadlock by launching a solo attack at the 9km-to-go mark. The Frenchman quickly built up a gap.
But behind him the Columbia-Highroad and Garmin-Slipstream teams were driving the pace and organising themselves to respectively fire Cavendish and Farrar to the line. Ominously, Petacchi was shadowing Cavendish.
With that level of firepower advancing behind him, Voeckler's moment in front was short lived and he was swallowed up by a reduced bunch containing the sprinters and their lead-out men.
Passing under the one kilometre to go banner, the Columbia team muscled their way to the front. First, Edvald Boasson Hagen wound up the pace to a blistering speed, then Mark Renshaw took over with Cavendish glued to his back wheel.
When Renshaw peeled off, Cavendish used every scrap of energy to propel himself to the line, avoiding a repeat of his stage two defeat. Today, no one was able to challenge him. This was classic Cavendish.
It's Cavendish's ninth victory this year, and the 37th in his short professional career. It cements his second place position in Cycling Weekly's all-time list of British pro winners just behind Chris Boardman.
Muted centenary stage
Today's stage was supposed to be a showcase event for the many fans who had turned out to watch some fast-paced city centre racing in Milan.
However, after being presented with roads still lined with parked cars the riders agreed to stage a go-slow protest, bumbling around the circuit at a leisurely 32 kilometres an hour and refusing to race.
Race leader Danilo Di Luca said "We're sorry for the public but the circuit isn't safe. We don't want to risk anything."
Former pro Mario Cipollini, watching from the roadside, had a different take: "I'm not a rider anymore, I'm a tifoso and in Milan, and the tifosi deserved to see a spectacular day of racing. I think they could have protested differently, without being so aggressive."
Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan was less than happy with the go-slow protest, issuing a thinly-veiled threat to the riders: "If they don?t want to race we?ll take some decisions this evening?"
Whether they have to spend the evening sitting on the naughty step or not, the riders can now take a short breather - tomorrow is the race's first rest day before the action resumes on Tuesday.
Stage nine: Milan Show 100, 163km
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad
2. Allan Davis (Australia) Quick Step
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Slipstream
4. Matthew Goss (Australia) Saxo Bank
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Italy) LPR Brakes
6. Robert Forster (Germany) Milram
7. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
8. Davide Vigano (Italy) Fuji-Servetto
9. Said Haddou (France) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
10. Thomas Fothen (Germany) Milram all same time.
12. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha
20. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD
78. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo
82. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld
86. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo
97. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
98. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
120. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes
158. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
182. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto
Overall classification after stage nine
1. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes
2. Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden) Columbia-Highroad at 13sec
3. Michael Rogers (Australia) Columbia-Highroad at 44sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 51sec
5. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank at 58sec
6. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at 1-14
7. Carlos Sastre (Spain) Cervelo at 1-24
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana at 1-25
9. Franco Pellizotti (Italy) Liquigas at 1-35
10. David Arroyo (Spain) Caisse d'Epargne at 1-49
25. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 4-39
27. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 4-45
34. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 6-00
65. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto at 26-14
112. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at 54-42
122. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 57-19
144. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 1-09-51
150. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD at 1-12-15
151. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad at 1-12-27
182. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 1-22-12
Mark Cavendish takes his first 2009 Giro stage win
Cavendish thanks team-mates Edvald Boasson Hagen and Mark Renshaw. Photo by Stephen Farrand
|Find the pink jersey competition|
Find the jerseys throughout the Giro and you could win a £400 Parker International voucher.
18 pink jerseys will be hidden around the Cycling Weekly and Parker International websites over the course of the three week race - all you have to do is decipher the clues at the end of the stage reports to find them.
Sunday, May 17. Clue number eight:
Today's pink jersey can be found under a slick folding tyre that's vreally good.
Today's jersey is on www.parker-international.co.uk
Full details of CW's find the pink jersey competition>>
|Giro d'Italia 2009 links|
Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad
Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin
No sympathy for Armstrong from Giro boss
Boasson Hagen celebrates his birthday early
Cavendish overjoyed for Boasson Hagen
Armstrong 'livid' at dangerous Giro stage
Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages
Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink
Giro news round-up: 14 May
Wiggins: 'I can't keep smashing away on the climbs'
Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall
Armstrong after Giro stage 5: 'That was hard'
Cavendish looking for Giro revenge
Armstrong happy with stage four performance
Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead
Giro could be last race for Armstrong's team
Vande Velde crashes out of Giro
Petacchi claims he didn't know of Cavendish crash
Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I've been working out how to beat Cav
I'm wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong's special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d'Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he's riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d'Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d'Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey
2009 Giro d'Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d'Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW's Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d'Italia
2008 Giro d'Italia archive
Giro d'Italia 2008 coverage index - race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year's race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what's in store?
Giro d'Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d'Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d'Italia 2008 preview
Giro d'Italia standings: All the jerseys and classifications explained
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