Ventoso Wins Giro Stage Nine Sprint After Crash Culls Favorites

May 14, 2012 Updated: May 14, 2012
Movistar's Francesco Ventoso crosses the finish line to win Stage nine fo the Giro d'Itlia. movistarteam.com
Movistar's Francesco Ventoso crosses the finish line to win Stage Nine of the Giro d'Italia. (movistarteam.com)

Movistar’s Francesco Ventoso won Stage Nine of the Giro d’Italia After a crash in the final 300 meters sidelined most of the top-tier sprinters.

Ventoso came from third wheel to overtake Best Young Rider Damiano Caruso of Liquigas and RadioShack’s Giacomo Nizzolo, then held off a late surge from Androni’s Fabio Felline to take his second career Giro stage win.

The final several kilometers of the 166-km stage were tricky, with four small hills which offered great launching points for attacks, lots of turns, and a very sharp left-hander in the final 300 meters.

It was this last turn which caused Pozzato to hit Matt Goss, in a crash which claimed Mark Cavendish, J.J. Haedo, Nikolas Maes and Mark Renshaw.

“I knew I was too far from the top places, but when I saw there were some riders not taking it properly, I saw a chance coming for me,” Ventoso told Velonation.com

“I came into good position through the turn and knew that had to go on full steam until the finish. Nizzolo was really far, but I started recovering bit by bit and I was only thinking of not being overcome like him and keeping the lead until the line.

“To tell the truth, I haven’t had many chances in the sprints until today,” Ventoso continued. “I saved every bit of energy I could for this second week because I knew sprints like this would be happening, and we could snatch the win at the first attempt. We were really close to winning in the last few stages, and today’s victory was the reward for that consistency and that superb level by all the team.”

Short Stage, Tough Finish

Stage Nine, San Giorgio nel Sannio to Frosinonem was short, particularly by the standards of this Giro, and mostly flat, with a few short hills in the final several kilometers and several sharp bends in the final approach.

A breakaway formed almost from the start with Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel,) Brian Bulgac (Lotto-Belisol,) and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil) opening a gap of almost four minutes, but they had to know all along they were doomed—this was one of the final few stages for the sprinters, with the rest coming after a series of mountain stages likely to thin the ranks.

Martijn Keizer attacked the fading breakaway 32 km from the finish, ansd stayed in front until 17 km from the end. With everyone together and the hills and twists coming, the attacks started.

Lotto’s Dennis Venendert was the first to try, ten km from the line. He lasted a kilometer. Next to go was Farnese’s Matteo Rabottinin, who was quickly overtaken by Lotto’s Gaëten Bille and Colnago’s Sonny Colbrelli.

This pair was joined by two Katusha riders, Angel Vicioso and Joaquin Rodriguez, only none seconds down in the General Classification. This would have been an ingenious move, if it had worked.

Rodriguez attacked this group with six km to go, but he was ridden down just past the five-km banner.

Farnese’s Filippo Pozzato made a half-hearted attempt with a Colnago and Omega rider, but really opened no gap. Androni’s Fabio Felline took off next, and lasted 700 meters until he was caught.

Just past the three-km banner Lotto’s Adam Hansen made a strong attack, but he too was caught up by the peloton, driven by Orica GreenEdge.

Coming into the final kilometer GreenEdge had two riders in front of their sprinter Matt Goss, no other team was able to organize.

Mark Cavendish was seen remonstrating with his Sky teammates earlier in the stage; coming to the finish, he was on his own, 20 riders back and moving up on the far right.

Next: The Crash