Giro d'Italia: Goss wins chaotic stage 9 sprint as rain returns
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Giro d'Italia: Goss wins chaotic stage 9 sprint as rain returns

by Ben Atkins at 11:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results

Matt Goss (HTC-Columbia) won the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia between Frosinone and Cava de’ Tirreni in a confusing and chaotic bunch sprint. The Australian, who usually works as lead out man for teammate André Greipel, beat Filippo Pozatto (Team Katusha) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) into second and third after 187km; most of which was raced under heavy rain.

The atrocious conditions endured on Saturday’s stage 7 returned, and so when Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank), Michael Barry (Team Sky), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Giampaolo Cheula (Footon-Servetto) escaped in the early stages the peloton was happy to see them go.  Today’s finish was one of the few in this race suited to a sprint finish though, so as the foursome’s advantage reached 4 minutes the HTC-Columbia team came to the front to prevent the gap from growing too wide.

With 20km to go the action finally started. With the breakaway’s lead less at than a minute, the HTC-Columbia team decided that it was time to bring back the four fugitives and accelerated. At this point another slice of bad luck was served to Carlos Sastre, who punctured just as the speed went up. A slow wheel change from the neutral service car saw him distanced, with his team dropping back to pace him back to the peloton.

At 15km to go, with the rain having stopped but the winding streets of the town of Sarno still wet, HTC-Columbia’s pace forced a split in the peloton. Vinokourov sent Astana forward to open the split further and a group of around 15 riders separated from the front, including the Kazakh and third placed Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo). Most of the other favourites were caught behind and it took a long time for the chase to get organised; at one point Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) himself, wearing the red points jersey was driving the pace.

Finally Liquigas-Doimo came to the front for Ivan Basso, and Androni Giocattoli came forward for Michele Scarponi and the gap was closed. Sastre meanwhile, was still behind and showing no signs of catching up.

The Astana acceleration caused the gap to the four leaders to fall dramatically and with just over 10km to go Ignatiev, sensing that they were about to be caught, jumped from second wheel and set off alone. Stamsnijder and Cheula were both absorbed by the peloton, but Barry continued to chase the Russian. As he passed under the 10km to go banner Ignatiev had a lead of 15 seconds over the peloton, now led by Astana, and 2km later he was rejoined by Barry.

HTC-Columbia upped the pace once more and the two were finally reeled in wvth 5km to go; with its man no longer up front, Team Sky moved forward to set up Greg Henderson.  Quick Step was also present at the front, working for stage 3 winner Wouter Weylandt.

As the peloton entered the final kilometre a short rise caused a slight hesitation in the front of the peloton. Rubens Bertogliati (Androni Giocattoli) saw this and, in a carbon copy of the move that won him stage 1 of the Tour de France in Luxembourg back in 2002, jumped off the front in a solo bid for the line.

Unfortunately for the Swiss rider he didn’t have the legs to hold off the rest of the bunch and was overtaken in the last few hundred metres. Surprisingly, the rider that flew past him first was Evans, aiming for a second stage win and some bonus seconds in the overall classification. Vinokourov was having none of this though and after sticking himself to the World champion’s wheel he prepared to outsprint him.

Farrar, taking advantage of this unusual lead out, opened up his sprint and cruised past the maglia rosa. Unfortunately for the American though, he had Goss and Pozatto on his wheel, and both riders squeezed between him and the barriers to take the first two places.

Sastre limped in 1’49” later at the front of a small group, but with all of the overall contenders finishing near the front, the top of the overall classification remains unchanged with Vinokourov still in the lead over Evans and Nibali.

Result stage 9
1. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Columbia)
2. Filippo Pozatto (Ita) Team Katusha
3. Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions
4. Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram
5. Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
6. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
8. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Team Sky
9. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank
10. Marcus Eibegger (Aut) Footon-Servetto

Standings after stage 9
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Astana
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing @ 1’12”
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 1’33”
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 1’51”
5. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia @ 2’17”


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