- Roberto Ferrari wins stage 11 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com
- Mark Cavendish pulls on the points jersey after stage 11 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com
- Joachim Rodríguez sprays more bubbly after defending the pink jersey during stage 11 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com
MONTECATINI TERME, Italy (AFP) — The embattled Italian Roberto Ferrari won stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia Wednesday. A late crash again impacted the sprint inside the final 500 meters, and Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) overcame an early jump from Thomas Vaitkus (Orica-GreenEdge) for the win.
Vaitkus finished third, behind Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Mark Cavendish (Sky) finished fourth after being gapped in the final corner.
Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) retained his overall lead after the 258km stage, the longest in this year’s race.
“As an Italian, it’s just a dream to win a stage in the Giro,” said Ferrari. “I came to the race in great condition and I knew I could do something big in the race.”
When asked about the stage 3 crash he caused with a wild move across the road, Ferrari said, “That’s cycling. I never did it on purpose, and today is a great day for me.
“I wanted to make up for what happened in Denmark. I apologize once again… I thank the jury for letting me continue in the race, who understood that it wasn’t a deliberate mistake.”
Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) went down in the final, right-hand corner, causing a pileup with a handful of riders and delaying a number of sprinters.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “My wheel just slid out from under me and I hit the ground. It’s frustrating because I came here to win a stage, but these crashes are taking me out of the sprints every time.”
Chicchi wanted the win badly near his hometown of Camaiore.
“I really would to win in my home region. I don’t live far from the finish line. I wanted to do something good,” he said. “But, in the last corner, 300 meters from the finish, Modolo crashed as he entered the corner too quickly. The first part of the group broke into pieces. Ferrari was in front, and I was stuck behind the crash. When I realized Ferrari was leaving alone I tried to do my sprint, but it was a little bit too late even though I did a great sprint. The problem was, when Modolo crashed it created a fracture between Ferrari and me. That’s why he was so far in front today.”
In a marathon stage lasting just under seven hours, a group of five riders — Oliver Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol), Mickael Delage (FDJ-BigMat), Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank), Stefan Denifl (Vacansoleil-DCM), Adrien Saez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) — broke away from the 10km mark and lasted until the final kilometers.
Thursday’s 12th stage covers 155km from Seravezza to Sestri Levante and includes one Category 2 and two Category 3 climbs, the final just 11km from the finish line on the Ligurian coast in northwestern Italy.