Stage nine of the 2012 Giro d'Italia looked to be heading towards another tight sprint between Matthew Goss (Orica-Greenedge) and Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) when a crash in the final turn took out many of the sprint favorites and left Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) to put his head down and get clear of the crowd of men still on their bikes, and he took the win over Fabio Felline (Androni) and Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan). The last corner before the finish line was incredibly sharp, and it proved to be too much for the speed of a bunch sprint.
Santa Rosa's Team BMC were among those caught behind the crash. Because the pileup was within the final 3km no one will lose any time, but they were shut out from any hope of the stage win or a show of force. Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal retains the Maglia Rosa, and Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez continued his slow climb up the standings, now in second at nine seconds out.
The breakaway spent a lot of time out in front, with the peloton only getting together with about 8km left of the 171km stage. Attacks came constantly over the short climb that preceded the finish, including one from Rodriguez. It was his first visible attack of the tour, but he was quickly reeled back in by the group. One rider or another popped off the front, and all of them were brought back. Matthew Goss currently leads Mark Cavendish in the points competition, and Cavendish would have given that sprint everything he had to try to change that. The crash denied him that opportunity, and he may have to wait until stage 11 for another chance.
The GC Standings after stage nine:
1 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 36:02:40
2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:09
3 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:15
4 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:35
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:40
6 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:45
7 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:46
8 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:48
9 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:52
10 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:53
Stage ten is another medium mountains stage, so Rodriguez and other GC contenders will have their work cut out for them if they want to take the lead.
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