Samuel Sánchez got through another rainy and potentially dangerous stage in the Giro d'Italia to head into the first rest day with his pre-race goals intact.
Ryder Hesjedal was the day's big loser, ceding more than a minute to his main overall rivals. 'Samu' stayed attentive throughout to finish stage nine in the first group accompanied by super domestique Egoi Martínez.
Ricardo Mestre once again tried his hand in a breakaway, but the Portuguese Grand Tour debutant could not stay the distance and could not prevent Katusha's Maxim Belkov soloing to the stage win.
Heading into Monday's rest day, Sánchez is 14th overall.
- (1, Maxim Belkov (Katusha), 4:31:31)
- 13, Samuel Sánchez, 1:03
- 33, Egoi Martínez, s.t.
- 66, Jorge Azanza, 8:42
- 90, Gorka Verdugo, 12:35
- 141, Ioannis Tamouridis, 17:45
- 142, Ricardo Mestre, s.t.
- 150, Robert Vrecer, s.t.
- 162, Miguel Mínguez, s.t.
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi