Valerio Conti retains retains Giro d'Italia pink jersey as Primoz Roglic storms to Stage 9 victory
Italian rider holds one minute, 50 second lead over Slovenia's Roglic, who moved up to second after his ITT race
UAE Team Emirates rider Valerio Conti said he was happy to fulfill a promise he made to his teammates by retaining the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey after Sunday's individual time trial (ITT).
ITT honours went to Slovenia's Primoz Roglic, who set a serious marker not only by winning Stage 9, but by damaging several key title rivals in the process.
European champion and world one-hour record holder Victor Campenaerts was second by 11 seconds on the day despite a late mechanical failure, while Dutch rider Bauke Mollema came third to boost his chances of an eventual podium shot.
Roglic, of Team Jumbo-Visma, who also won the opening day time-trial, finished the 34.8km rain-sodden run to San Marino in 51 minutes, 52 seconds to win in impressive style.
It was a full one minute, five seconds faster than Italy's two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali, and a devastating three minutes, 11 seconds faster than Britain's Simon Yates, who appeared to struggle on the final climb.
Nibali, known as 'the shark' for his ferocious winning moves, appeared exultant after the stage.
"I believe that was a good time from me," said the Bahrain Merida leader. "It's a great thing to have taken so much time off Yates and (Miguel Angel) Lopez," he said of the two men he would normally most fear in the mountains.
"Roglic took more than a minute off me but time-trials are his speciality."
"There's a long way to go, but lots of people lost ground here and not just Lopez and Yates, and these people will now have to go on the attack. This is turning out to be a beautiful Giro."
Reigning Vuelta champion Yates led the Giro for over two weeks last year only to suffer a penultimate-stage meltdown, and has vowed to make up for it this year.
The win leaves 29-year-old Roglic in second place in the overall standings behind overnight leader Conti, who completed his ITT in a time of 55 minutes, 26 seconds. The Italian leads Roglic by one minute, 50 seconds in the general classification standings.
“As planned, I did not take any risks, especially with this unbelievably bad weather," Conti said. "I raced the entire time trial in the pouring rain. It was hard to see, I tried to keep focus and to push hard on the climb.
"My goal was to retain the pink jersey and I achieved it; I made that promise to my teammates. We will spend the rest day in pink, which is great.”
After Monday's rest day, the Giro will resume with Tuesday's Stage 10 - a flat 145km route that will likely be decided by a bunch sprint.
Updated: May 19, 2019 08:57 PM