Napolitano Wins Stage 9 of Giro
Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) has won Stage 9 of the Giro d?Italia. Napolitano took a bunch sprint from Robbie McEwen (Predictor) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) to win the rolling, 177-km run from Reggio dell?Emilia to Lido Di Camaiore in 4:57:08. Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile) remains the maglia
Early in the stage, the riders showed little aggression. After two hours, the field was still together, and the pace was pedestrian. That state of affairs changed on the Passo del Cerreto (71 km), where Elio Aggiano (Tinkoff) attacked and teammate Pavel Brutt, Pietro Caucchioli (Credit Agricole), Andrei Kunitski (Acqua & Sapone), and Luis Felipe Laverde and Emanuele Sella (both from Panaria) followed. The resulting combustion formed a lead group of Caucchioli, Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom), Frederic Bessy (Cofidis), Brutt, Kunitski and Simone Masciarelli (both from Acqua & Sapone). Caucchioli and Brutt sat up, but the others pressed on.
The peloton kept the quartet on a short leash. At the feed zone at Aulia (107 km), the bunch led the break by 2:56. T-Mobile did most of the early chasing, but Milram and Lampre began to pursue in support of Petacchi and Napolitano, respectively. Eventually, Ag2r joined the chase as well.
With 20 km remaining, the escapees? lead was down to 1:22. Five km later, Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff) attacked, and teammate Mikhail Ignatiev joined him. The pair forged a 40-second lead before Milram brought them back with nine km left. The leading quartet led the field by 0:30.
With seven km left, the bunch reeled in the break. With one km left, Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff) attacked, but he was captured just inside of the red banner. With 250 m left, Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) began sprinting with Petacchi, McEwen, and Napolitano, respectively, on his wheel. Petacchi passed Hushovd, but Napolitano came around Petacchi and held off McEwen.
In the overall, Pinotti leads Andrea Noe (Liquigas) by 0:28 and Sergei Yakovlev (Astana) by 0:54. Stage 10 will be a standing shaker. The 250-km ride from Lido di Camaiore to Santuario Nostra Signora Della Guardia will feature the Passo Della Biscia at 143 km and the 16.3-km ascent to the finish. The contenders in this year?s Giro will show themselves in Stage 10. Who will they be? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!