Sestola: Dutchman Pieter Weening won the ninth stage of the Giro d`Italia on Sunday following a 172km run from Lugo to Sestola while Australian Cadel Evans kept the leader`s pink jersey.
Weening outsprinted Italian Davide Malacarne of Europcar after the two men rode in tandem over the final 15km after breaking away from their escape group.
It was the Orica rider`s second stage on this year`s race after winning the team time-trial and third of his career in Italy.
Italy`s Domenico Pozzovivo came home alone in third and 42 seconds behind while the main pack crossed the line 1min 8secs adrift to comfortably keep Evans in pink.
Pozzovivo thrived on the final climb and was the day`s biggest winner in the overall rankings as he used his bonus points to close within 1min 20secs of Evans but still in fourth spot.
Colombian Rigoberto Uran is second at 57secs while Polish rider Rafal Majka remains third at 1min 10sec.
"The last few days I lost some time after a perfect first week but I`m not here for the overall rankings," said Weening after his victory.
"I was a bit tired yesterday but today was a perfect day to do something nice. I could see I wasn`t one of the best climbers so I decided to attack with 20km to go but (Davide) Malacarne was very strong on the last climb and I had to wait right until the end to attack," he added.
A group of 14 riders including Weening and Malacarne took advantage of a mass crash in the middle of the peloton around the 40km mark to open up a gap of just over 7mins before the peloton stepped began reel them in.
At the front, the 33-year-old Weening then attacked on his own as the final ascent came into view before being caught by Malacarne with 15km to race.
The two men led the rest of the original escape group onto the final hill and led by 1min 40 with 7km to run while the main pack closed within 3mins 40secs.
Evans` BMC teammates were controlling proceedings at the front of the peloton before another pileup in the race for home left several riders injured and struggling to continue.
"It wasn`t an easy stage," admitted 2011 Tour de France winner Evans.
"But the team did a good job of controlling the race and it`s been a good day.
"We saw in the final climb that the overall contenders have more or less the same level. I don`t see someone capable of making a big difference on these kinds of climbs and that suits me fine."
The two leaders rode together up the final climb before the terrain flattened out to lead to a cat-and-mouse sprint for the line.
Weening, who also won a stage on the Tour de France in 2005 and won last year`s Tour of Poland, used his experience to burst past the Italian and deprive the 26-year-old what would have been a first ever stage win in his home race.
Monday will be a rest day.