Australian Jai Hindley of Bora-Hansgrohe came through a packed group of riders to win stage nine of the Giro d’Italia, a gruelling 187-km ride from Isernia to Blockhaus on Sunday, ahead of 2019 champion Richard Carapaz.
Having negotiated a series of challenging climbs, Eritrean Natnael Tesfatsion and home favourite Diego Rosa pulled clear of the peloton with 50 kilometres to go, but a spectacular fall by Tesfatsion descending Passo Lanciano ended his race.
The peloton quickly closed the gap and a large group assembled, led by Ineos Grenadiers, with 15 kilometres to go, as they got their man, Ecuador’s Carapaz, into position.
Carapaz was joined by five others in a sprint finish, before Romain Bardet, Carapaz and Hindley crossed the line together, with Hindley punching the air having taken his second Giro stage win ahead of Bardet in second and Carapaz third.
A gutsy ride from Spaniard Juan Pedro López, the first rider from his country to hold the pink jersey since Alberto Contador in 2015, enabled him to stay ahead on the general classification.
Britain’s Simon Yates endured a tough day, crossing the line 11 minutes and 15 seconds back on the stage winner, having been hampered by the knee injury he suffered in a fourth-stage crash. The BikeExchange–Jayco rider was dropped on the final climb of the day.
Frenchman Bardet moved up to third in the overall standings, 14 seconds behind López, with Carapaz fourth at 15 seconds. Hindley is fifth, 20 seconds off the pace. The Giro takes a break on Monday, before returning on Tuesday with stage 10 – a 194-kilometre ride from Pescara to Jesi.