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HomeRaceRace ReviewsIl Giro d'Italia 2014 - Stage 9; Lugo - Sestola, 174 km....

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 9; Lugo – Sestola, 174 km. Pieter Weening Winning

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Giro d'Italia logoBoring this Giro is not – Pieter Weening won ORICA-GreenEDGE’s third stage of the race in a two-up sprint against Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar) both having survived from the break of the day.

It took an hour of savage racing before a big break of 14 was finally allowed to go – once the correct recipe passed the test of the ‘Bigs’ dipping their finger in the mixing bowl.

But there were just two left come the mountain top tactical finish where Weening was too strong for Malacarne – I did enjoy the high altitude track stand…

Sean Kelly had expected Malacarne to win – but on days like this one when there’s little fuel left in the tank it’s often raw strength and grinta which tip the scales.

Weening wanted it more and continued GreenEDGE’s wonderful run of form.

Weening
Pieter Weening.

Whether it’s the Ardennes, Switzerland, Ireland, Turkey, Italy or even California – they’re winning.

Weening’s Aussie tinted ‘Eurospeak’ is a joy to listen to – ‘for sure, eh?

But it was hitherto quiet Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) who posed the biggest threat to upsetting the GC status quo and attacked late to finish 26 seconds ahead of the Evans group and earn a four-second time bonus for finishing third; as a result he’s climbed from 10th to fourth overall, 1:20 off the lead.

Pieter Weening
Domenico Pozzovivo is making sure we’re talking about him most days. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

What confused me was why Evans sent his troops to work hard a couple of times; maybe it was just to keep him out of trouble and at the front – or was there more ‘polemica’ at play?

Whilst his henchmen Morabito and Oss are total bears, they have their limits and we still have 12 stages to go, including six major mountain stages – don’t burn them out too soon, Cadel.

Oss is a cool guy; he was with Liquigas for a number of seasons and had individual success in races like the Giro del Veneto and Tour of Colorado – but perhaps the ‘super domestique cum bear’ role is best for him.

Martin and I interviewed Oss at le Tour three years ago, he’s a really nice guy but lacks that Godzilla-like glint which Cadel has in his eye – he likes what he does but doesn’t necessarily want to eat people whole to win.

Pieter Weening
Cadel sitting pretty amongst his teammates. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Garmin’s ‘bursts on the banjo’ (copyright Dave Duffield) were hard to understand – what was the point?

Pozzovivo’s strong ride made amends for his team’s work yesterday – which he failed to capitalise upon.

Those AG2R boys are very good this year and if the little Italian can get the jersey then he couldn’t have a better equipe to back him up.

Dave and I spoke to him back in his Navigare days and he really is a tiny guy – the size of your average 12 year-old school boy in Scotland.

Uran showed a little today but I can’t help but think that QuickStep management will be drumming into him the stage racers mantra that, ‘Grand Tours are won in the third week.’

Pieter Weening
Uran has been slowly building during the first week. Photo©Tim de Waele/OPQS

It was good to see Poels up there in support of Uran, another quality rider.

Quintana says he’s suffering from his Cassino crash injuries but could be bluffing – although it has to be said that the man does look stressed.

The Movistar physio and chiro will be hard at work on the little man from Combita tomorrow; and Tuesday’s 184 kilometres are about as flat as you can expect in this Giro – so a little breathing space for the ‘Telephone Man.’

An ‘up and comer’ who’s really impressing me is Lampre’s Ulissi; granted we’re not on the mega climbs – Gavia, Stelvio, Zoncolan and the rest but he was right there again today in fourth spot.

There comes a day for some good single day riders and stage win chasers when they realise that they can be good at this stage race lark – maybe thi