By Jonny Long
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) extended his lead over his GC rivals after taking victory in the stage nine time trial of the Giro d'Italia 2019.
The Slovenian beat Victor Campenaerts by 11 seconds after the Belgian suffered a disastrous mechanical, which the Lotto-Soudal rider says cost him over half a minute.
Campenaerts switched to a road bike for the climb after dropping his chain, as his mechanic left the new Hour Record holder to come to a standstill on the road, needing a push from spectators.
Roglič extended his lead over his GC rivals and moved up to second in the overall classification. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) posted a poor time, finishing 3-11 down on Roglič and losing 2-07 to Vincenzo Nibali, the Italian only losing 1-04 to the Jumbo-Visma rider and posting the fourth best time of the day.
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) rode a great time trial, going five seconds quicker than Nibali to finish third, on a day where the weather got progressively worse as it went on.
Tanel Kangert (EF Education First) finished fifth, followed by Chad Haga (Sunweb) and Bob Jungels (Deceuninck - Quick-Step). Brit Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) put in one of the performances of the day, finishing eighth and only 1-30 down on Roglič's time.
In the battle of the GC contenders, Miguel Ángel López also lost time, finishing 38th on the stage and 3-45 down on the Slovenian.
Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) managed to hold on to his lead in the overall classification and will now keep the pink jersey through Monday's rest day and the two flat stages that follow on Tuesday and Wednesday.
How it happened
The 34.8km time trial was longer than the 2019 Giro's opening against the clock offering on stage one, and once again finished with a climb, albeit less severe than the San Luca. This time the stage concluded in San Marino, the only time the Giro will leave Italy this year.
Of the riders propping up the GC, and therefore rolling out of the start hut early, it was two Brits who set the first quickest times of the day, with Scott Davies (Dimension Data) completing the 34.8km course in 54-29 followed by James Knox (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) who finished in 55-22.
The first rider to start who would realistically challenge for the stage victory was Victor Campenearts (Lotto-Soudal), the new Hour Record holder. The Belgian set the two fastest times at the intermediate time checks, before changing his bike on the climb. As he switched out his time trial bike for a road bike after suffering a dropped chain, his mechanic left him stationary and trying to clip in on the incline, with spectators having to rush over to get him going again with a push.
Campenearts did cross the finish line with the provisionally quickest time of 52-03, despite the Lotto-Soudal man saying in a post-race interview that his mechanical probably cost him at least 30 seconds.
As the day went on the weather got worse, the rain hammering down on the riders. Tanel Kangert (EF Education First) rode well, though, finish 59 seconds down on Campenaerts to move up to provisional second place.
At the first time check, Primož Roglič was 11 seconds down on Campenaerts but 26 ahead of Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), as well as a handful of seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) finished 2-38 behind Campenaerts, admitting after the race that he still doesn't feel himself after his crash last week.
Simon Yates was only 10 seconds behind Nibali at the second time check, with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) posting an impressive time to move into provisional second not long after, 49 seconds behind Campenaerts. Nibali then came across the finish with the third best time of the day so far, five seconds further back from Mollema.
After staying in contention over the flats, Yates didn't fare as well on the climb, crossing the line in virtual 26th place, losing over two minutes to Nibali.
When Primož Roglič crossed the line soon after, not only had he put three minutes into his British GC rival, but he had done enough to take the stage win, posting a time of 51-52, 11 seconds quicker than Campenaerts. The Belgian looked gutted as he left the hot seat, ruing what could have been had that palaver with his bike change not occurred.
Miguel Ángel López (Astana) also lost time, going slower than Yates, finishing 3-45 back on Roglič in what will be a severe dent to his GC ambitions.
Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) rode a terrific ride, finishing in eighth, 1-30 down on Roglič, and now sits in 16th in the overall classification as the best placed Brit.
After the GC riders had come through, the battle for the pink jersey commenced, with Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) doing enough to hold off those close to him in the overall at the start of the day as well as Roglič. The Italian finished 3-34 down on the Slovenian, enough to carry the pink jersey into Monday's rest day and will probably hold on Tuesday and Wednesday's flat stages.
Giro d’Italia 2019, stage nine: Riccione to San Marino (34.8km)
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 51-52
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 11 seconds
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-00
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-05
5. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First, at 1-10
6. Chad Haga (USA) Sunweb, at 1-14
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 1-16
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First, at 1-30
9. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana, at 1-43
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermic, at 1-52
General classification after stage nine
1. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 36-08-32
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-50
3. Nans Peters (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2-21
4. José Joaquín Rojas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-33
5. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, at 2-36
6. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar, at 2-39
7. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team, at 3-05
8. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 3-27
9. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, at 3-30
10. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana, at 3-32
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