Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo continued the string of victories for northern European teams, taking the victory at the Chianti time trial ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia. Thanks to heavy rain on the course, the battle for the maglia rosa was muted by crashes and difficult conditions, and while time gaps that will matter occurred, the battle we expected did not materialize. Gianluca Brambilla of Etixx-Quick Step, just ahead of Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali and Mikel Landa.
Big losers on the day included Katusha's Ilnur Zakarin, who crashed at least twice during a ride where he initially looked like a potential maglia rosa contender following the stage. Rigoberto Uran and Esteban Chaves were among those who simply did not ride strongly, confirming suspicions about their ability against the watch, while Nibali and Valverde confirmed our suspicions that they would hold their own. Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo joined Mikel Landa among the riders who saw their fortunes improve. Landa, in particular coming off a dud of a week, helped himself in a discipline he isn't known for, moving up to eighth overall, in shouting range of his fellow favorites. Kruijswijk has a bit more of a record of decent performances on such a course, and the Dutchman is now fourth overall, 51 seconds behind Brambilla.
And then of course there was the fate of Dumoulin, who would have been a top favorite for success on the stage and a powerful move into pink, but he had very little ability to show his strength on a stage where, by the end, it was all riders could do to stay upright. One late 180-degree corner claimed numerous victims, including Zakarin, though most of the GC favorites chose to ride gingerly enough to stay on their bikes.
All of the top stage finishers rode in dry weather, and Roglic was the best of them, just ahead of two IAM Cycling riders Mathias Brandle and Vegard Stake Laengen. All-time cronoman Fabian Cancellara of Trek somewhat overcame the illness that scrambled his start, taking fourth on the day at 28 seconds.
The successes of Etixx-Quick Step and LottoNL- Jumbo add to a first week rife with foreign achievement. Only Lampre's Diego Ulissi broke the string of stage wins by first Giant (from Dumoulin), then two for Etixx (Kittel), then two for Greipel and one for Wellens of Lotto-Soudal. Dumoulin has shared the pink jersey leadership with Kittel and now Brambilla, who scored yet another stage win for EQS.
The racing takes a pause tomorrow before heading toward the mountains on Tuesday. Results:
- Primoz Roglic, LottoNL-Jumbo
- Mathias Brandle, IAM Cycling, at 0.10
- Vegard Stake Laengen, IAM Cycling, at 0.17
- Fabian Cancellara, Trek, at 0,28
- Anton Vorobyev, Katusha, at 0.30
- Bob Jungels, Etixx-Quick Step, at 0.45
- Stefan Kung, BMC, at 0,58
- Jos van Emden, LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1.08
- Maarten Tjallingii, at 1.16
- Andrey Amador, Movistar, at 1.19
- GIanluca Brambilla, EQS
- Bob Jungels, EQS, at 0.01
- Andrey Amador, Movistar, at 0.32
- Steven Kruijswijk, LottoNL-Jumbo, at 0.51
- Vincenzo Nibali, Astana, at 0.53
- Alejandro Valverde, Movistar, at 0.55
- Tom Dumoulin, Giant-Alpecin 58
- Mikel Landa, Team Sky, at 1.18
- Rafal Majka, Tinkoff, at 1.45
- Jakob Fuglsang, Astana, at 1.51