Evans holds onto Giro d’Italia lead

Cadel Evans held onto the Giro d’Italia leader’s jersey as Pieter Weening took the stage win in an uphill finish.

Dutchman Weening, 33, triumphed after breaking from the leading group with Italian Davide Malacarne, 26, as stage nine hit its final five kilometres.

Australian Evans, 37, had pushed up the pace in the final 40 kilometres to ensure he maintained his 57-second General Classification advantage.

“I think we have to be satisfied with our work today,” said BMC leader Evans.

What to expect on Tuesday’s stage ten

Monday is the second rest day of this year’s Giro. The race returns on Tuesday with a flat 173km stage.

Ben Swift says: “Everyone will be mentally refreshed and ready to go again after the break, although it will be interesting to see how much the mountains have taken out of the sprinters.

“It is a relatively flat day and as long as you’ve got your rest day right there’s going to be a big fight for the break but this stage has bunch sprint written all over it again.”

Evans, who will now enjoy

a rest day in Modena on Monday,

added: “The guys who are gambling are winning the stages, but I am very happy with the position we are in. I will rest happily tomorrow.”

An aggressive 14-man break went early to ensure the best chance of success ahead of the three climbs in the final 60kms. By the time the breakaway group hit the foot of the 3rd category Sant’Antonio, they was still out front by almost eight minutes.

The chasing bunch scrubbed two minutes off the advantage in the next 20kms after Garmin-Sharp took control at the front.

Then Evans and his BMC team turned up the pressure in the peloton to reduce the gap by a further one minute 30 seconds, ahead of the fourth category ascent of Rocchetta Sandri.

Evans had ridden

strongly at the end of stage eight

to finish a tough day in fifth position and take the overall race lead by 57 seconds.

And the

2011 Tour de France winner

looked to be suffering no ill effects from the previous day’s exertions in the mountains as he carried the maglia rosa on to the second category climb to the ski station above Sestola.

But as the leading group regained its composure on the final ascent, Orica GreenEdge’s Weening and Europcar’s Malacarne peeled off the front to open a lead of over one minute on the steepest part of the uphill finish.

With the gradient ramping up over 13 per cent, the pair stretched out the gap by another half minute as Weening urged Malacarne to push harder in the closing five kilometres.

They built up enough of a lead to be able to come almost to a stop in the last few hundred metres as they tussled for position, but Weening won by two bike lengths after springing for the line.

“I was able to gamble a bit in the last few hundred metres and I was stronger in the last sprint,” said Weening, who held the leader’s jersey for three days after winning a stage of the race in 2011.

“I had tried to make as high a pace as I could before that, but I was unable to drop Malacarne. He was very strong.”

Stage nine:

1. Pieter Weening (Ndl/Orica) 4hrs 25mins 51secs

2. Davide Malacarne (Ita/Europcar) ST

3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/AG2R) +42secs

4. Diego Ulissi (Ita/Lampre) +1min 8secs

5. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Omega) ST

6. Wilco Kelderman (Ndl/Belkin) ST

7. Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC) ST

8. Dario Cataldo (Ita/Sky) ST

9. Rafal Majka (Pol/Tinkoff) ST

10. Fabio Duarte (Col/Col) ST

Overall standings:

1. Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC) 38hrs 45mins 34secs

2. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Omega) +57secs

3. Rafal Majka (Pol/Tinkoff) +1min 10secs

4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/AG2R) +1min 20secs

5. Steve Morabito (Sui/BMC) +1min 31secs

6. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +1min 39secs

7. Diego Ulissi (Ita/Lampre) +1min 43secs

8. Wilco Kelderman (Ndl/Belkin) +1min 44secs

9. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +1min 45secs

10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro/Trek) +1min 49secss

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/27462622

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