Stage profile: No major climbs on a largely flat route, but with three small hills in the final 10km which provide ample opportunity for a small group or solo attacker.
Top three: 1. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar), 2. Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), 3. Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan).
Who was in the breakaway?: Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Brian Bulgac (Lotto-Belisol) and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM). The trio never managed to get more than 4:10 ahead, and as the gap tumbled Keizer struck out on his own with 31km remaining, surviving until the 15km mark.
How the stage was won: The real action kicked off as the peloton approached the first of three small climbs in quick succession in the final 10km. Lotto-Belisol’s Dennis Vanendert was the first to chance his arm but was soon closed down. Then, in turn, Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), second overall Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli) and finally Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) all soloed off the front, with each being ruthlessly hauled back before they could establish a credible gap. As the riders approached a tight left-hand corner with 350 metres to go, Farnese Vini’s Filippo Pozzato misjudged his speed, careering into the back of Orica-GreenEDGE’s Matt Goss and initiating a chain reaction which took out Mark Cavendish among others. Ahead of the carnage, Ventoso had no problem holding off Felline and RadioShack’s Giacomo Nizzolo for the victory.
Quotes of the day: Winner Ventoso said the team had highlighted this stage as one which suited them:
Today was the sort of day for us. The team believed in me, which was good, and I managed to win, so I’m happy. This morning I said you’d be interviewing me at the end.
Meanwhile Orica-GreenEDGE directeur sportif Matt White was philosophical about missing out on the opportunity to deliver a second stage win for Goss:
Goss was hit from behind in the final corner. It’s sprinting. It happens.
Odd occurrences: Rabobank sprinter Theo Bos was caught on camera mid-stage performing some odd leg stretches on the move, standing on his left pedal while hooking the toes of his right foot over the saddle, presumably to stretch his thigh or ankle. Either that, or he has a hankering to join the circus as a trick cyclist.
VeloVoices villains of the day: Whichever genius it was who thought that having a tight 90-degree-plus bend 350 metres from the end of a flat stage was a good idea. And Filippo Pozzato for demonstrating just how bad an idea it was by using Matt Goss as a brake.
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) 36:02:40
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:09
3. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:15
4. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) +0:35
5. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) +0:40
Points leader: Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE).
King of the Mountains leader: Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela).
Tomorrow: Stage 10 – Civitavecchia to Assisi, 186km. A rolling stage with a couple of tricky climbs in the final 40km before an uphill finish which features two 9% ascents in the final 5km. One for the punchy climbers which will see a small lead peloton including the main GC contenders strung out along the final climb.
And here is Cycling the Alps‘ fly-over of the route:
Link: Official website