Giro d'Italia Stage 9: Columbia-HTC win the sprint - but glory goes to Goss, not Greipel
Australian crosses line first as atrocious weather continues to overshadow race

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.