Giro d’Italia leader Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quick Step) put everything into his time trial performance on stage nine to retain the maglia rosa by just one second.
Last man off, Italian Brambilla had the benefit of knowing exactly how his rivals had fared, and put in a precisely measured ride to retain the overall race lead.
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Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) took the stage victory having set one of the day’s earlier fast times. The result should not perhaps have been a surprise as Roglič placed a close second behind Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) in the opening time trial. Today, Dumoulin looked as though the previous week’s efforts were weighing heavy, and he finished 15th and nearly two minutes slower than Roglič.
Former Hour Record holder Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) placed second, with team-mate Vegard Stake Laengen in third.
Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) looked the most likely rider to take over the race lead from his team-mate Brambilla, placing sixth on the stage. However, he didn’t quite make it and is now one second behind Brambilla overall.
The remaining big GC favourites all posted similar times, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Mikel Landa (Sky), Steven Kruijswijk (LotoNL-Jumbo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finishing the stage in 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd places respectively. Just 11 seconds separated Nibali and Valverde.
Intermittent heavy rain showers throughout the afternoon made sections of the course slippery, with several riders’ front wheels subsequently washing out on the white lines painted on the road. Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) saw his hopes of moving in the race lead dashed after crashing heavily twice, including on the final corner.
Riders with earlier start times therefore benefited from dry roads, which made Brambilla and particularly Jungels’ rides all the more impressive.
Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) finished in fourth spot, as he continues to recover from a stomach illness that blighted the opening week of the race for the Swiss star.
Tomorrow, the riders will take the second rest day of the 2016 Giro d’Italia before the action recommences on Tuesday with stage 10 from Campi Bisenzio to Sestola. The 219km route takes in four classified climbs, including the Passo del Lupo up to the finish line.
Giro d’Italia 2016 stage nine: Radda to Greve in Chianti, 40.5km ITT
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo in 51-45
2. Matthias Brändle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 10 secs
3. Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) IAM Cycling at 17 secs
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo at 28 secs
5. Anton Vorbyev (Rus) Katusha at 30 secs
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step at 45 secs
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing at 58 secs
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1-08
9. Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1-16
10. Andrey Amador (Crc) Movistar at 1-19
Watch: Team Sky’s Dario Cioni talks about Mikel Landa’s time trial result
Overall classification after stage nine
1. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-Quick Step in 34-33-04
2. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-QuickStep at 1 sec
3. Andrey Amador (Crc) Movistar at 32 secs
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 51 secs
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 53 secs
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 55 secs
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 58 secs
8. Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky at 1-18
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 1-45
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1-51