Mark Cavendish cemented his reputation as the sprinter to watch this summer with an explosive victory on the streets of Milan. After a perfect leadout by Boasson-Hagen and Renshaw, Cavendish went off the front at 300m out and made it look fairly simple, completing three wins in a row for Comlumbia Highroad. Allan Davis (Quickstep) and Tyler Farrar (Gamrin Slipstream) made up the podium, with Matt Goss in fourth and Petacchi fifth.
After Horillo's horrible crash on Saturday there was an uneasiness in the peloton, with many riders feeling that the Milan street circuit, which included several narrow sections with tight turns, was too dangerous for competitive riding. The riders also bemoaned the fact that the organisation of the stage was so sloppy that some of the roads used for the route still had cars parked along the side, making the circuit even more dangerous. Their feelings were summed up in a go-slow enforced by the leading teams, and by race leader Danilo Di Luca who stopped the riders on the start finish line after four of the ten scheduled laps to deliver a heartfelt speech about how the riders would continue for the sake of the spectators, but that the circuit was not safe. This came after the organisers had already decided to neutralise times for the stage so they would have no effect on the GC, although the stage win still stands.
Predictably not everyone was impressed with the peloton's stance. Race director Angelo Zomegnan said, "I don't agree with the riders on this decision, which is taken on the back of yesterday's dramatic crash. Yesterday, we scaled back the jersey and stage presentations due to the incident and out of respect for Pedro Horrillo. "Evidently, they [the riders] find this circuit dangerous. If this circuit is dangerous, then races like Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège should be canceled."
Certainly Zomegnan has a point; although there were grumbles within the pack about today's stage before yesterday, there's little possiblity that the stage would have been conducted in the way it was had it not been for the incident on the preceding day, and not all the teams agreed to the slowdown. The narrow sections of the circuit certainly were no more dangerous than the run in to Chiavenna on stage 7, although obviously the criterium-style format meant that riders had to negotiate the tricky sections ten times over. Sean Kelly, commentating for Eurosport, declared at one point that the circuit would have been "impossible" to race in the wet, but as it was conditions were fine throughout the day.
Top 10 Giro d'Italia Stage 9
1) Mark Cavendish (Columbia Highroad)
2) Allan Davis (Quickstep)
3) Tyler Farrar (Garmin Slipstream)
4) Matt Goss (Saxo Bank)
5) Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes)
6 )Robert Forster (Team Milram)
7) Robert Hunter (Barloworld)
8 )Davide Vigano (Fuji-Servetto)
9 )Saïd Haddou (BBox Bouygues Telecom)
10) Thomas Fothen (Team Milram)
Top 10 on General Classification after Giro Stage 9
1) Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 37.29.48
2) Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) 0.13
3) Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad) 0.44
4) Levi Leipheimer (Astana) 0.51
5) Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 0.58
6) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 1.14
7) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) 1.24
8) Christopher Horner (Astana) 1.25
9) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) 1.35
10) David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) 1.49
25) Lance Armstrong (Astana) 4.39
27) Bradley Wiggins (Garmin - Slipstream) 4.45
34) Christopher Froome (Barloworld) 6.00
65) Charles Wegelius (Silence-Lotto) 26.14
112) Ben Swift (Team Katusha) 54.42
122) David Millar (Garmin - Slipstream) 57.19
144) Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo Test Team) 1.09.51
150) Ian Stannard (ISD) 1.12.15
151) Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia - Highroad) 1.12.27
182) Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo Test Team) 1.22.12
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.