Spaniard Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) benefited from a final-corner crash which brought down Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss to win stage nine of the Giro in Frosinone this afternoon.
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Ventoso was too strong for Fabio Felline (Androni-Giocattoli) and RadioShack-Nissan’s Giacomo Nizzolo, but the outcome would have been different had the peloton navigated a sweeping left-hander 350m from the line successfully.
Italian Filippo Pozatto appeared to trigger the crash, as he ploughed into points competition leader Matt Goss going into the bend. Both fell heavily, which triggered a domino effect behind. Cavendish was the unfortunate victim, as he was left with nowhere to go as Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) came down in front of him.
Garmin-Barracuda rode strongly to defend the maglia rosa worn by Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, who himself stayed out of trouble at the finish and crossed the line out of harm’s way in an impressive seventh. GC rival Joaquim Rodriguez had earlier tried to use a tricky run-in to break clear, but his bold move was shortlived.
As the race heads towards the mountains once again, Friday’s thirteenth stage from Savona to Cervere is likely to be the last hurrah for the sprinters.
Giro d’Italia 2012, stage nine: San Giorgio nel Sannio to Frosinone, 171km
1. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar in 3-39-15
2. Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5. Daniel Schorn (Aut) NetApp
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
7. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda
8. Matthias Brandle (Aut) NetApp
9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge all at st.
Overall classification after stage nine
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda in 36-02-40
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 9 sec
3. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana at 15 sec
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana
5. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 35 sec
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 40 sec
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 45 sec
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 46 sec
9. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 48 sec
10. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at at 52 sec
Francisco Ventoso celebrates his stage win
Ryder Hesjedal still in pink jersey
Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news
Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide