FRANCISCO VENTOSO AVOIDED a crash on the final corner which took out Mark Cavendish to win stage nine of the Giro d’Italia on Monday.
The dramatic late crash involved world champion Cavendish, leading sprinter Matt Goss of GreenEDGE and Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).
Movistar’s Ventoso was one of the riders to slip past the carnage and he overhauled RadioShack’s Giocomo Nizzolo to claim the second stage win of his career at the Giro d’Italia.
The 30-year-old Spaniard finished just ahead of Fabio Felline of Androni Giocatolli in second, while Nizzolo claimed third place.
For the second stage in a row a breakaway group led for most of the day only to be caught by the peloton in the closing stages.
With 17 kilometres to go, Martijn Keizer of Vacansoleil, the last remaining breakaway rider, was hauled in by the peloton, seemingly setting up a routine bunch sprint.
But the 171-kilometre stage from San Giorgio nel Sannio to Frosinone included a series of small sharp hills towards the end.
A number of riders tried to sneak away to victory in the final 10 kilometres by attacking uphill but each attack was covered by the main bunch.
As the peloton flew into the final corner, Goss, who currently leads the sprint standings, looked in the best position to win the stage.
But the Australian went wide around the almost 90-degree final bend, which caused Pozzato to crash into him from behind.
That caused a string of collisions with Cavendish (Team Sky) going over his handlebars and Ventoso avoided the carnage to take the stage.
The general classification standings remained unchanged after Monday’s stage with Garmin-Barracuda’s Ryder Hesjedal retaining the pink jersey for stage 10.
The Canadian leads Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha by nine seconds with Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) a further six seconds behind in third.
Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Benat Intxausti (Movistar) round out the top five, 35 seconds behind Hesjedal.