Stage 9 results: Alberto Contador tames the angry white beast; takes the Pink Jersey on Etna going into the first rest day

34 Big Photos from Stage 9 (more photos added)sirotti/rcs
Stage 9 results
1  Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)           4:54:09
2  José Rujano (Androni)                   + 0:03
3  Stefano Garzelli (Acqua&Sapone)         + 0:50
4  Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)   
5  Roman Kreuziger (Astana)
6  David Arroyo (Movistar Team)
7  Kanstantin Siutsou (HTC-Highroad)
8  Igor Antón (Euskaltle-Euskadi)          + 0:59
9  John Gadret (AG2R)                      + 1:07
10 Hubert Dupont (AG2R)
11 Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervélo) 

General classification after Stage 9
1  Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)          33:03:51
2  Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad)      + 0:59  
3  Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo     + 1:19  
4  Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)   + 1:21  
5  Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD)         + 1:28  
6  David Arroyo Duran (Movistar)           + 1:37 
7  Roman Kreuziger (Astana)                + 1:41
8  José Serpa (Androni)                    + 1:47
9  Dario Cataldo (Quick Step)              + 2:21
10 Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil)
11 Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Full/Official Results and
Contador climbs to stage victory and into overall lead cyclingnews
Alberto Contador wins atop Mt. Etna, seizes lead at Giro d’Italiavelonews
Contador rookt de Giro uit op de flanken van de Etna
Contador wins to take overall
Alberto Contador conquers Etna with all guns blazingvelonation
Menchov slides as Contador fliesvelonews
Kreuziger: It was impossible to match Contador on Etna cyclingnews
Mt Etna brings an end to McEwen and Brown's Giro d'Italia cyclingnews
Nibali admits Contador is one step ahead at Giro cyclingnews
Vincenzo Nibali still confident despite losing time to Contador on Etnavelonation
 Last 2 Km (06:28 Italian) —
34 Big Photos from Stage 9 (more photos added)sirotti/rcs
 Processo alla tappa - 9ª tappa/ Post-Stage Show (54:43 Italian) —

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May 14 post: Stage 9 may not be the Queen Stage of this year's Giro, but fireworks are expected (possibly in more ways than one) that could shake up the general classification.

After a ferry ride from the south point of mainland Italy ("the boot"), stage 9 will start on the island of Sicily from Messina, a city battered by either wars (Romans, WWII) or earthquakes (1908) over time. Messina is also Vincenzo Nibali's hometown. From this east point of the island we'll head south along the mostly flat coastal roads for 50 km before turning inland for two ascents of the largest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world: Etna.

The volcano and its slopes belong to the Parco Regionale dell’Etna, a territory of approximately 60,000 hectares created in 1987. For several months every winter Etna turns white and beomes a popular ski destintation. But, summer is the most interesting time to visit ‘a Muntagna’ (the mountain in Sicilian dialect) when it becomes "natural gymnasium for trekking lovers", with excursions that go from the valley to the peak of the mountain through many diverse landscapes produced from its wide ranging climate zones.

Of course, you can also cycle part way up the mountain which is what we'll do for stage 9... from two directions. When the race heads inland at km 50 we'll scale Mount Etna from the north side, descend to the coast and then finish with a southern ascent. Both climbs of Mount Etna are about 20 kilometers long with a constant gradient around 6%. These are grinding, exposed climbs on reasonably wide roads.

Severals teams, namely Lampre, Astana and Liquigas have trained extensively in this area prior to the event. Watch for Michele Scarponi (Lampre), Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) who placed second, third and fifth respectively on the slightly shorter less steep finishing climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano on Friday. But, really, there are so many good climbers in this race, it's hard to narrow it down to a few potential winners. Anyone of the 26 riders who finished in the same time as Friday's winner is a potential winner of this stage.

To add to the fireworks we'll have on the road, Etna erupted again this week blowing ash over parts of the course. “The plans will move forward with the stage,” Giro d'Italia race director Angelo Zomegnan told RAI Television. “The locals and race crew have cleared ash that fell on the route. We'll monitor the situation, but right now, everything looks good to host the stage as planned.” — Steve

 BBC Sport's Mike Bushell cycles Mount Etna with Mark Cavendish (02:58 English) — bbc
 Stage 9 Flyover (00:46) —
 3D Google Earth Tour of the Mount Etna Final Climbcyclingthealps
Eruptions on Mount Etna could disrupt Sunday’s stagevelonation
Volcanic ash threatens Giro
Giro notes: Short stages and Etna’s ashesvelonews
Astana tackles Etna, makes first Giro d'Italia selection (Feburary) — cyclingnews
Kreuziger ready to take on Giro (January) — cyclingnews
Nibali continues Giro d'Italia preparation on Etna (March) — cyclingnews
Nibali says wind a threat during Giro's Etna stage (November) — cyclingnews