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Weening wins 9th stage of Giro, Evans in lead

Overall leader Cadel Evans gets ready to start the 9th stage of the Giro d
Overall leader Cadel Evans gets ready to start the 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Lugo to Sestola, Italy, Sunday, May 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Gian Mattia D'Alberto)
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By The Associated Press

SESTOLA, Italy - Pieter Weening of the Netherlands edged out Davide Malacarne to win the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday, while Cadel Evans retained the overall lead.

Weening had been part of a breakaway group and apologized to Malacarne as he sprinted past him at the end of the final climb of the 172-kilometre (107-mile) leg from Lugo to Sestola for his second individual victory.

A final burst from Domenico Pozzovivo saw the Italian cyclist finish third, 42 seconds behind, with the peloton coming in 1 minute, 8 seconds after Weening.

"The guys weren't working perfect in the group and it went slightly uphill," Weening said. "At the roundabout I saw everybody going the wrong way around and I came full speed on the right side and I felt that this was the moment. Normally you wait for the climb but this climb is not so steep to attack, so I thought I would attack before the climb."

The top three in the overall standings remained unchanged and Evans has a 57-second advantage over Rigoberto Uran.

Rafal Majka is third, while Pozzovivo moved up into fourth, 1:20 behind Evans.

"I think we have to be satisfied with our work so far," Evans said. "The team, they put me in the position I'm in now. I'm very proud of my guys and we will rest well tomorrow."

Victoria's Ryder Hesjedal finished the stage in 14th and is 17th overall. Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., was well back in 161st and is now last overall in the field at 181st.

Despite a relatively flat opening half of the stage, the break took a while to form with the peloton holding the pace high.

A group of 14 riders eventually escaped 50K (31 miles) in and swiftly built an advantage of more than seven minutes as the peloton seemed happy to let them go, with no threat to the overall lead among the escapees.

However, with 35K (22 miles) remaining, BMC put its foot down and the peloton started slashing the gap which dropped to 3:19 at the top of the second and penultimate climb.

Weening saw the danger and made his move, followed by Malacarne. The pair built up an advantage of more than 35 seconds with 12K (7.5 miles) remaining and that was up to a minute as they approached the steepest part of the final climb, with gradients of 14 per cent.

The duo worked together before becoming more cagey in the final kilometre, each waiting for the other to start the sprint. Malacarne made his move with 250 metres to go, but Weening rounded him to take his second victory in this year's race, after helping Orica-GreenEdge win the opening time trial.

Pozzovivo jumped from the peloton with less than 5K (3 miles) remaining, catching and passing Enrico Barbin to finish third.

Monday is a rest day before Tuesday's 10th stage, which is one for the sprinters — a flat 173K (107.5-mile) leg from Modela to Salsomaggiore.

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