Giro d\'Italia 2011: Alberto Contador stronger than anyone else on the Etna
The day before the resti day the riders could once more show upfront over 169 kilometers including a double climb of the Etna. Big winner was Alberto Contador (Team Saxobank-Sungard) who realised a double victory: stage victory and the pink jersey.
The summary of the 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2011: Messina > Etna
After several attacks, Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma Lotto) and Filippo Savini (Colnago-CSF Inox) succeeded after 50 kilometers to escape out of a big group. A little later 9 other riders joined them: Mikaël Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Horrach (Katusha Team), Yaroslav Popovitch (Team Radioshack), Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team), Alessandro Vanotti (Team Liquigas-Cannondale), Pablo Lastras (Movistar Team) and Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Nero Sottoli).
The leading group was thus a fact. The lead reached a maximum of 5'15" after 58 kilometer. A bit further, Yaroslav Popovitch had a flat tire, but quickly got back with the leading group.
At the beginning of the first climb of the Etna the difference with the peloton was still 4'50" and after 78 kilometers it went back up to 5'06".
Maxim Belkov (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) started to chase them alone out of the peloton and approaches at 1'30" of the leaders.
The first climb of the Etna, also counting for the mountain classification was as follows: 1/ Filippo Savini, 2/ Mathias Frank, 3/ Jan Bakelants, 4/ Yaroslav Popovitch, 5/ Pablo Lastras, 6/ Giovanni Visconti.
Maxim Belkov came at 1'48" and the peloton followed at 4'23".
Most of the work in the pursuit was done by Lampre-ISD, the team of Michele Scarponi, later also with the help from the guys of Team Saxobank-Sungard, the team of Alberto Contador. With still 46 kilometers to go Maxim Belkov falls back and is swallowed by the peloton led by Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) himself. The group in the lead has a gap which varies between four and four and a half minutes with 25 kilometers to go. More and more riders cannot keep up with the peloton while approaching the final climb. At the foot the gap with the leaders is still around 3 minutes. First attacker in the front is Belgian Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto). His attempt remains unsuccessful, but Alessandro Vanotti and Taroslav Popovitch became victims of this accelleration and drop back. Giovanni Visconti will try to get away by himself and Jan Bakelants joins again.
At that time they are 2'40" ahead of the chasing peloton. Mathias Frank and Pablo Lastras also come back again, followed at 15" by Filippo Savini and Juan Horrach, at 43" by Mikaël Chérel, Yaroslav Popovitch at 1'15" and Alessandro Vanotti at 1'43".
With still 10 kilometers to the finish, the pink jersey, Pieter Weening (Rabobank), can no longer follow the group. In front a group of 3 remains: Jan Bakelants, Giovanni Visconti and Mathias Frank. Filippo Savini is at 13" and Pablo Lastras at 1'57".
Jan Bakelants tries yet another time and creates a gap, followed by Mathias Frank at 14", Filippo Savini at 28" and from behind José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) at 1 minute.
Alberto Contador (Team Saxobank-Sungard) starts a counter attack and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) also attacks. Together they go chase the leaders of the race.
At 6 kilometers from the finish they are together on their way to José Rujano and Jan Bakelants and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is chasing on his own. When Alberto Contador accelerates, Michele Scarponi can no longer follow and only José Rujano stays in the wheel of the Spaniard when they pass the brave Belgian Jan Bakelants.
With still 1,800 meters to go they have a 56 seconds lead over the other favorites while Michele Scarponi is having problems to stay up with the rest. After a new attack by Alberto Contador his companion can no longer follow anymore and El Pistolero dashes to his double: winner of the stage and leader overall!
While in the background Vincenzo Nibali tries all he can to become third it is José Rujano arriving at 3" for the second place.
Nibali (4th) is defeated in the sprint by Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) (3rd) while Roman Kreuziger (Astana) is fifth.
New wearer of the pink jersey is Alberto Contador (Team Saxobank-Sungard) and who will be able to defeat him in this shape?
The classifications of the 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2011
The day before the first rest day of the Tour of Italy, the general classification starts to show where the favourites are placed!
The stage classification of the 9th stage: Messina > Etna