Stage 9: San Giorgio nel Sannio - Frosinone 171km
14 May 2012
Mark Cavendish's hopes of a third stage victory at the Giro d'Italia were dashed by a late pile up at the end of stage nine.
The world champion, winner of stages two and five, had high hopes of coming out on top at the end of the 166 kilometres route from San Giorgio del Sannio to Frosinone.
He and the team had negotiated the final climb inside the last 10km and the subsequent descent but the whole complexion of the race was changed on the final corner, a tight left turn 350 metres from the line.
A crash just in front of him involving Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini) and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) caused all sorts of problems in behind.
Cavendish was forced to take evasive action and his momentum was then completely halted by the aftermath of the crash as riders and bikes blocked the right-hand side of the road.
Thankfully the Team Sky rider touched the tarmac in a much tamer fashion that he did when taken out at the end of stage three but it all left a much-reduced bunch to contest the sprint.
Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan) had been left in front but it was Movistar rider Francisco Ventoso who powered through to take the stage.
Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela) was second, with Nizzolo staying on for third.
Also in the top 10 was Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) which means he continues to top the general classification by nine seconds from Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha). Team Sky pair Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Henao remains 11th and 14th respectively.
Earlier in the day Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Brian Bulgac (Lotto-Belisol) and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) formed the day's breakaway as the peloton travelled out of San Giorgio del Sannio.
Team Sky and FDJ-BigMat controlled matters at the front of the main group, meaning the trio up the road never had a realistic chance of staying away to the finish.
Keizer eventually dropped his companions and opted to go it alone but could not stop the group from reeling him in with 16km to go.
Before the catch had been made, Cavendish sprinted out of the peloton to take second place in the intermediate sprint in Ceprano to reduce his gap to Goss in the points standings.
Several riders, including overall contender Rodriguez, then tried to get away on a series of hills that led into the finish, but it all eventually came back together for a group sprint.
1 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team 3:39:15
2 Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
4 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5 Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
7 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda
8 Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team NetApp
9 Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
General classification after stage 9 Result
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