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Giro d'Italia Stage 9: Belkov's Big Day; Hesjedal Suffering

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Sirotti

Maxim Belkov of Katusha soloed away over a difficult ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia and held off a chasing trio of Tobias Ludvigsson of Argos-Shimano, Carlos Betancur of AG2R and Jarlinson Pantano of Colombia for a glorious stage win in the center of Florence. Belkov emerged from the day's break and stayed solo as the big teams fought each other behind him. Betancur struck out late and caught the chasing Swede in time to celebrate his stage win... 40 seconds after Belkov's actual win. Oops.

It was another difficult day for Bradley Wiggins, whose distaste for wet descents on twisty Italian roads is becoming legend. Wiggins came unstuck on the penultimate descent, dropping as much as a minute to Nibali and the other leaders, according to the unreliable moto time gap estimates. And again, up to Fiesole 15km from the line, he struggled some more. But Wiggins did rejoin, which is more than can be said for Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal, who struggled on the climb and dropped a minute to his rivals.

Stage results

  1. Maxim Belkov, Katusha
  2. Carlos Betancur, AG2R, at 0.44
  3. Jarlinson Pantano, Colombia, at 0.46
  4. Tobias Ludvigsson, Argos-Shimano, at 0.54
  5. Cadel Evans, BMC, at 1.03

GC

  1. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana
  2. Evans, at 0.29
  3. Robert Gesink, Blanco, at 1.15

Points

  1. Evans, 61 points
  2. Mark Cavendish, OPQS, 58
  3. Elia Viviani, Cannondale, 52