Matt Goss of HTC-Columbia claimed a surprise victory in Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia in Cava de’ Tirreni this afternoon, as team-mate André Greipel again failed to capitalise on a sterling effort from the US ProTour team, which had spent the day driving the peloton forward to keep a four-man break in check. Pippo Pozzatto of Katusha and Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Transitions were second and third.
The final two of the day’s escapees, Michael Barry of Team Sky and Katusha’s Mikhail Ignatiev, were swept up as the race passed under the 5km to go banner, but the HTC-Columbia train appeared to have lost control of the race as other teams started lining up for the sprint.
Briefly, it even looked as though the two men heading the general classification, Astana’s Alexandre Vinokourov, who remains in the race leader’s maglia rosa, and Cadel Evans of BMC Racing, swapping his World Champion’s rainbow stripes for the Giro’s red points leader’s jersey, would contest the sprint, but the Australian appeared to make his move for the line too early.
It may be a volcano in Iceland that continues to cause headlines as the ash cloud once again causes chaos to airline flight schedules across Europe, but it was a more famous one, the mighty Mount Vesuvius which dominates the Bay of Naples, that provided the backdrop to the stage.
Or rather, it would have done, had the atrocious weather that has characterised the first week or so of this year’s race not continued, with roads at times nearly impassable due to flooding and a huge downpour as the riders entered the last 40km of today’s 187km race from Frosinone in Lazio to Cava De' Tirreni in Campania. Thankfully, the last 10km somehow managed to avoid the deluge, and the race finished without any serious crashes.
It’s only the second time that the town on the Amalfi Coast has hosted a Giro stage finish, the previous occasion in 1997 providing drama as the late Marco Pantani, competing in his first Grand Tour after returning from the career-threatening injuries he suffered when he was hit by a car in the Milano-Torino race two years earlier, was forced to abandon after crashing when a black cat ran out in front of him during a descent a few kilometres from the finish.
One rider missing from the start of today’s stage was Lampre-Farnese Vini’s Alessandro Petacchi, who withdrew as a result of respiratory problems that certainly wouldn’t have been helped by Saturday’s mud-afflicted stage through the strade bianche of Tuscany.
Tomorrow’s Stage 10 takes the peloton 230km from Avellino to Bitonto as it heads towards the Adriatic coast and, ultimately, a race-deciding final week in the Alps.
Giro d'Italia Stage 9 Frosinone-Cava de' Tirreni 1 GOSS Matthew THR 04:08:17 2 POZZATO Filippo KAT 00:00 3 FARRAR Tyler GRM 00:00 4 FORSTER Robert MRM 00:00 5 CANUTI Federico COG 00:00 6 HINAULT Sebastien ALM 00:00 7 WEYLANDT Wouter QST 00:00 8 HENDERSON Gregory SKY 00:00 9 VAN EMDEN Jos RAB 00:00 10 EIBEGGER Markus FOT 00:00 11 DUQUE Leonardo COF 00:00 12 EVANS Cadel BMC 00:00 13 MOLLEMA Bauke RAB 00:00 14 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQ 00:00 15 BELLETTI Manuel COG 00:00 16 PORTE Richie SAX 00:00 17 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian SAX 00:00 18 DIDIER Laurent SAX 00:00 19 GREIPEL Andre THR 00:00 20 BAKELANDTS Jan OLO 00:00 Overall standings after Stage 9 1 VINOKOUROV Alexandre AST 33:09:43 2 EVANS Cadel BMC 01:12 3 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQ 01:33 4 BASSO Ivan LIQ 01:51 5 PINOTTI Marco THR 02:17 6 PORTE Richie SAX 02:26 7 KARPETS Vladimir KAT 02:34 8 GARZELLI Stefano ASA 02:47 9 CUNEGO Damiano LAM 03:08 10 SCARPONI Michele AND 03:09 11 ARROYO DURAN David GCE 04:22 12 KISERLOVSKI Robert LIQ 04:25 13 AGNOLI Valerio LIQ 05:18 14 MOLLEMA Bauke RAB 06:05 15 TONDO VOLPINI Xavier CTT 06:34 16 WEENING Pieter RAB 07:31 17 EIBEGGER Markus FOT 07:46 18 EFIMKIN Alexander ALM 07:56 19 DIDIER Laurent SAX 08:01 20 ROHREGGER Thomas MRM 08:14
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.