Giro 2013 stage 9: Belkov solos to victory in Florence

Nibali remains in maglia rosa, Hesjedal loses time

Maxim Belkov (Katusha) won an engrossing stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia from Sansepolcro to Florence, attacking on the descent of the Vallombrosa with over 50 kilometres to go. The Russian finished 44 seconds clear of Carlos Betancur (Ag2r), who attacked from the peloton late in the stage and mistakingly raised his arms in victory, not realizing one rider, Belkov, still remained clear from the day's early break. Compatriot Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), a breakaway companion of Belkov, hung on for third at 46 seconds, followed by another breakaway survivor, Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano) at 54 seconds.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) maintained his lead overall, finishing 10th on the day in the peloton led in by Cadel Evans (BMC), their group crossing the line 1:03 behind Belkov.

Defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was dropped on the two final climbs of the 170 kilometre stage and lost further ground on his rivals.

Bradley Wiggins’s difficult Giro d’Italia continued as he was constantly put under pressure on the wet roads leading to Florence. At one stage the Tour de France champion was a minute behind Nibali with Sky teammates Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran instructed not to wait for their leader.

Wiggins eventually clawed his way back to the main group and despite a few nervous moments, survived. But it was another successful day for Katusha who came into the race without Joaquim Rodriguez. The Russian team was granted a wild card place earlier this year and justified that with Luca Paolini already wining a stage and wearing the maglia rosa.

Or if climbing is more your thing, join the Maglia Azzurra Challenge,log more than 6,500 metres of climbing and get entered into a prize draw to win a Santini Giro D’Italia Maglia Azzurra King Of The Mountains Jersey.

Giro BikeRadar Challenges

Why not take part in your very own Giro challenge? BikeRadar Active is running two challenges throughout May. Join the Maglia Rosa Challenge and log 21 rides in May for your chance to win a box of cycling goodies plus exclusive BikeRadar Maglia Rosa t-shirts.

Or if climbing is more your thing, join the Maglia Azzurra Challenge,log more than 6,500 metres of climbing and get entered into a prize draw to win a Santini Giro D’Italia Maglia Azzurra King Of The Mountains Jersey.

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