Cavendish makes it three in a row for Columbia - High Road
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cavendish makes it three in a row for Columbia - High Road

by Steve Jones at 2:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results

On a day that marked the 100 year anniversary for Italy's Grand Tour, the celebratory circuit designed in the race's birthplace of Milan ended up playing out differently then race organizers had planned. Instead of seeing the peloton honor the Giro d'Italia's rich history with aggressive racing, the stage was neutralized by a rider protest on a course that was too dangerous for their liking.

The last couple of days have served up atrocious racing conditions with wet foggy descents and tight stage finishes, arguably resulting in Rabobank rider Pedro Horillo's horrific 180 foot tumble down a ravine on yesterday's stage to Bergamo.

After a neutral roll out by the peloton the race stopped at the Start/Finish line with six laps left of the circuit that was littered with rail crossings, cobbles, and technical turns. There, Maglia Rosa Danilo Di Luca made a statement on behalf of the peloton about the race situation, and why the peloton had made the decision not to race.

Organizers agreed that the 165km "Milan Show" as it was dubbed, would not count towards the race's General Classification, and that it was acceptable for only those that chose to involve themselves in the chance for victory on the day.

Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) began the last lap on the front increasing the speed to the much anticipated race pace of the day. His team would be looking to make a dent in the results column after an unsuccessful race thus far. Thomas Voeckler (Bbox - Bouygues Telecom) made his way to the head of the race and attacked, but it was short lived with the sprinter's teams not wanting to squander one of their few opportunities left in the race.

In the last couple of kilometers it came down to a battle for position between the Columbia and Garmin teams, each trying to keep their sprinters up front. Double stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes - Farense Vini) was left to fend for himself as the elbows and shoulders rubbed.

In the end, Team Columbia chose to fully support their sprinter with second and third place on GC lining the peloton up for the team. As the final kilometer approached, the duo of Edvald Boasson Hagen and Mark Renshaw shoved their way to the front with sprinter Mark Cavendish in tow giving him a perfect leadout and securing the first stage victory for Cav in this year's Giro.  Allan Davis (Quick-Step) came in second, while Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) was coming in fast, but started too far out of position to challenge a man like Cavendish.  With that win, Columbia makes it an impressive tally of four stage wins in the first week of racing.

"It was a long day, there was a lot of discussion in the race, and with the limited amount of sprints we have here in the race they did the right thing," said race winner Cavendish.

He added: "I messed up the first sprint I did, I'm happy now."

Tomorrow is an official rest day for the race, but with the events of today's stage it will effectively make it two rest days in a row for the riders. Rest days have been known to cause strange things to happen to riders, which means the following day's mountain stage, the 262km queen stage of the race from Cuneo to Pinerolo, could have even more effect when it comes to shaking up the general classification.

Results in the 9th stage of the Tour of Italy here on Sunday:

1. Mark Cavendish (GBR/THR) 4h16:13.
2. Allan Davis (AUS/QST) at 0:00.
3. Tyler Farrar (USA/GRM) 0:00.
4. Matthew Goss (AUS/SAX) 0:00.
5. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA/LPR) 0:00.
6. Robert Förster (GER/MRM) 0:00.
7. Robert Hunter (RSA/BAR) 0:00.
8. Davide Vigano (ITA/FUJ) 0:00.
9. Saïd Haddou (FRA/BBO) 0:00.
10. Thomas Fothen (GER/MRM) 0:00.
11. Eduard Vorganov (RUS/KGZ) 0:00.
12. Ben Swift (GBR/KAT) 0:00.
13. Sébastien Hinault (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
14. Ruggero Marzoli (ITA/ASA) 0:00.
15. Jackson Rodriguez (VEN/SDA) 0:00.

Overall standings (No changes)

1. Danilo Di Luca (ITA/LPR) 37h29:48.
2. Thomas Lövkvist (SWE/THR) at 0:13.
3. Michael Rogers (AUS/THR) 0:44.
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA/AST) 0:51.
5. Denis Menchov (RUS/RAB) 0:58.
6. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 1:14.
7. Carlos Sastre (ESP/CTT) 1:24.
8. Chris Horner (USA/AST) 1:25.
9. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/LIQ) 1:35.
10. David Arroyo (ESP/GCE) 1:49.
11. Gilberto Simoni (ITA/SDA) 2:09.
12. Yaroslav Popovych (UKR/AST) 2:38.
13. Tadej Valjavec (SLO/ALM) 2:44.
14. Laurens ten Dam (NED/RAB) 2:49.
15. Kevin Seeldraeyers (BEL/QST) 2:57.



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