CW Live: Remco Evenepoel wins Giro d'Italia stage nine time trial; Blow-by-blow updates from the Italian Grand Tour; Tour de Hongrie final stage neutralised
Hello and welcome to another Cycling Weekly live blog. It's Sunday, but there's no rest for the Giro d'Italia peloton as they take on the second, and longest, of the three individual time trials at this year's race.
From around midday UK time, I'll be providing live updates from stage nine's 35km race against the clock. The top 10 on GC start rolling out from 3pm, so if you're heading out for a ride, make sure you're back and showered by then.
If you want to get in touch with me, don't hesitate to reach out through Twitter - my handle is @t_davidson.
09:57 - Important ITT start times for stage nine of the Giro d'Italia
10:37 - Why Filippo Ganna isn't in today's time trial
11:05 - Primož Roglič Covid rumours
11:34 - Tour de Hongrie final stage neutralised due to weather conditions
11:57 - Giro d'Italia ITT course in detail
12:15 - Live updates from stage nine of the Giro d'Italia
16:07 - Remco Evenepoel wins Giro d'Italia stage nine
Giro d'Italia time trial - key start times
Today's ninth stage at the Giro d'Italia offers a 35km time trial between Savignano sul Rubicone and Cesena. Though the course is pan-flat, there are a lot of tricky corners to deal with, which will no doubt be made more difficult by the rain that's currently falling over the region.
Here are some of the key start times (BST) to look out for when the stage gets underway this afternoon. The riders will roll out in order of where they stand in the general classification, with pink-jersey-wearer Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) off last.
12:15 - Veljko Stojnić (Ita) Corratec-Selle Italia - first rider down the ramp
12:21 - Mark Cavendish (GBr) Astana Qazaqstan
12:35 - Charlie Quarterman (GBr) Corratec-Selle Italia
12:55 - Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
13:00 - Thomas Gloag (GBr) Jumbo-Visma
13:33 - Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma
13:48 - Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
14:06 - Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost
14:18 - Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ
GC Top 10
15:01 - Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
15:04 - Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
15:07 - Aleksandr Vlasov, Bora-Hansgrohe
15:10 - Aurelién Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën
15:13 - Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
15:16 - Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
15:19 - João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
15:22 - Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
15:25 - Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
15:28 - Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Team DSM
For a complete list of the start times, visit this page collated by our sister site Cyclingnews.
A Ganna-less time trial
Unfortunately, we won't see the Italian tricolour in today's individual time trial, as Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) had to withdraw from the race ahead of yesterday's stage.
The two-time world champion returned a positive Covid test, after displaying mild, flu-like symptoms.
A team statement, released yesterday, said: "Filippo will now rest and recover fully before resuming his remaining 2023 race programme."
Since 2020, Ganna has won five individual time trials at the Giro d'Italia, a record bettered by nobody in recent years. He came second on stage one, 22 seconds down on Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step).
Does Primož Roglič have Covid?
Primož Roglič has been planting seeds of doubt about his condition at the Giro d'Italia, jokingly telling his rivals that he has Covid.
After yesterday's stage eight, when the Slovenian attacked the GC group and gained 14 seconds on Evenepoel, Geraint Thomas told the press: "Not bad for a guy with Covid.
"He told me yesterday that he had Covid. So I said, 'Stay away from me, then'," the Welshman added.
"He always says he's got bad legs. 'Ah the race is hard, eh. This is too hard, eh, I go home.' And then he goes and wins by ten minutes. Who knows with him, it's all mind games."
Asked by Cyclingnews if there is any truth in Roglič's Covid whispers, Jumbo-Visma sports director Addy Engels said: "To be honest, you surprise me with this rumour, because I don't know anything about this rumour."
Another member of staff was more frank with Cyclingnews. "It's bullshit," they said.
Tour de Hongrie final stage neutralised
The fifth and final stage of the Tour de Hongrie has been neutralised due to adverse weather conditions.
As a result, there will be no stage winner, and the GC will remain unchanged, with Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) declared the winner, and 21-year-old Brit Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) the runner-up.
The riders will complete eight laps of a rain-drenched circuit in Budapest "for the fans".
A statement from the race organisers read: "After ongoing discussions with the teams, due to the weather conditions and the slippery track that comes with it, the 5th Stage of Tour de Hongrie is neutralized.
"There will be no intermediate sprints, no points, no stage winner. The riders will do 8 laps around the circuit for the fans. GC stays the same as yesterday. The stage starts at 12:00 CET."
The neutralized stage 5 started. 8 laps (75 km) to go. #TourdeHongrie pic.twitter.com/zNEyFwKojbMay 14, 2023
Giro d'Italia stage nine course detailed
With less than 20 minutes to go until the stage starts, let's take a closer look at today's individual time trial course.
Stretching out over 35km, the route will see the riders climb just 50m as they power between Savignano sul Rubicone and Cesena in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. It's a fairly technical course, with more than one corner per kilometre.
Aero expert Xavier Disley has written up a handy thread on Twitter, detailing that the wet weather conditions and long headwind sections are likely to play a key role.
"Crashes, fatigue, and the ability to deal with the different conditions will affect the results significantly," Disley predicts. "It'll be a really interesting watch, and we may see a couple of upsets here and there."
Something else I've spotted on Twitter is a head-to-head guide of ITT results between Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel. According to the data gathered by Eurosport/GCN commentator Dan Lloyd, Roglič has come out on top more often, but trails on total accumulated time. Today's stage should make for an exciting contest.
Roglič and Evenepoel have ridden a total of 173.05km of the same professional ITTs. Total time Roglič: 3h29m07s Total time Evenepoel: 3h28m45sRoglič has beaten Evenepoel 4 of the 6 times.One of them has been the winner of all but 1 (World's 2019).#Giro pic.twitter.com/ES5kGMQUQ7May 14, 2023
Giro d'Italia stage nine live updates
The second time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia is underway. Serbian rider Veljko Stojnić (Corratec-Selle Italia) is the first rider out on the course, by virtue of being last in the general classification.
The big guns will start their assaults from 3pm BST. The feeling is that Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) will need a small miracle if he is to hold onto the race lead this afternoon.
"I hope [my pink jersey] will give me some extra watts," he said before the stage.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: The rain is pouring in Savignano sul Rubicone. Weather forecasts suggest it might clear up later on, but it's unlikely any rider will enjoy a dry run today.
Nice weather for ducks 🦆 #Giro pic.twitter.com/jDjRsQ44GHMay 14, 2023
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: The riders are currently setting off at one-minute intervals, but there will be three-minute gaps between the top 15.
The fastest riders should stop the clock around the 40-minute mark.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Stojnić averaged just under 46km/h to the first time check. It goes without saying that we won't be seeing the same speeds today as we did in the opening day ITT, in which Evenepoel rode at over 55km/h.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Charlie Quarterman (Corratec-Selle Italia) has set a new fastest time at the first time check. We caught up with the Brit before the race - read the interview.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Dan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo) is the first rider across the line in Cesena, having tagged both his minute man and his two-minute man.
He clocks 44-47 and will now enjoy a stint in the hot seat.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: The pictures aren't really doing it justice, but the rain is lashing down. Here's Davide Ballerini (Soudal Quick-Step) trying to get back to the bus as quickly as possible.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) is home safe and sound. After crashing three times already at this year's Giro d'Italia, tomorrow's rest day couldn't come sooner for the British national champion.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: There's a Brit in the hot seat! Quarterman sets a new fastest time of 44-15, 30 seconds faster than Hoole.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: The times are getting faster. Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) and Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) look on pace to topple Quarterman.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Affini goes into the stage lead with a 42-41. His team-mate, and two-time world time trial champion, Rohan Dennis has just set off.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) has dropped his chain. It won't be a huge concern for the Australian, but it's a warning sign to the GC favourites, who are still to come. There are some bumpy cobbled sections on the route.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Michael Hepburn (Jayco AlUla) knocks four seconds off Affini's best time. Expect a game of musical chairs in the hot seat over the next hour and a half.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: This flat course favours the most powerful riders in the peloton. Could it bring a stage win for Groupama-FDJ's Stefan Küng? The former European champion rolls out in 20 minutes.
F O C U S pic.twitter.com/thmSkUzWKfMay 14, 2023
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: From what I can make out, the rain has stopped falling in Cesena. Just in time for yesterday's stage winner, Ben Healy, to begin his crack at the course.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious) comes close to dethroning Hepburn, but falls three seconds short. The time to beat is 42-37.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Hepburn leads no longer. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) edges the benchmark closer to 42 minutes, with a new best time of 42-23. Here he is, shoulders nice and compact.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Küng means business. The Swiss rider has thundered to the first time check, clocking an average speed of 52km/h.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Just 20 riders still to roll down the ramp in Savignano sul Rubicone. They'll soon start to go at three-minute intervals.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Turns out it's less of a hot seat, more of a hot bar stool.
Hot seat 🔥 @BaukeMollema 🇳🇱#Giro #GirodItalia pic.twitter.com/G19rNOzA3oMay 14, 2023
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Here's your top three as things stand.
1. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) - 42-23
2. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) - 42-24
3. Michael Hepburn (Jayco AlUla) - 42-37
There's less than 10 minutes until the top 10 start coming.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) becomes the first rider to go sub-42 minutes. But before he can reach the hot seat, his team-mate Küng knocks another four seconds off the best time. A very strong performance from the Swiss powerhouse.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: In nine years racing at WorldTour level, Küng has never won a Grand Tour stage.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Ineos Grenadiers duo Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas have both set off. The Brits bunnyhopped their way up the GC yesterday. Can they do the same again today?
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Despite the wet conditions and slippery cobbled sections, there have been no crashes on today's stage (as far as I'm aware).
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) rolls out. The GC top three will follow.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Here's Primož Roglič, the Olympic champion. Can he claw back some seconds on Remco Evenepoel? Or will it be damage limitation for the Jumbo-Visma rider?
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) rolls down the ramp. The world champion could be swapping his rainbow bands for the pink jersey in under an hour's time.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: And here's the final rider, with the maglia rosa on his back, Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM).
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Geoghegan Hart beats Küng's time to the first time check! An average speed of 52km/h for the 2020 race winner.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Now Thomas goes faster than Geoghegan Hart. 52.2km/h for the Welshman. This next 40 minutes is going to be wild.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Here's the moment Evenepoel set off, some 10 minutes ago.
🔥 @EvenepoelRemco - @soudalquickstep #Giro #GirodItalia pic.twitter.com/LjBS2cT9eVMay 14, 2023
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Roglič is 20 seconds down on Thomas at the first time check, around 13km into the 35km course.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Evenepoel has thundered to the first time check. He sets a new best time, and is 31 seconds faster than Roglič.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: A very impressive ride from Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious). The Italian clocks a 42-06 for a provisional fourth place, but the big guns are still to reach Cesena.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Tao Geoghegan Hart continues his blistering pace to the third time check, where he clocks in at over 51km/h.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Thomas and Geoghegan Hart are on almost identical times, and are riding themselves further and further up the general classification.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Almeida's losing time here. He's 35 seconds off the Thomas-Geoghan Hart pace.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Geoghegan Hart crosses the line with a 41-26, bettering Küng by two seconds. His stint in the hot seat might only last a few minutes, though, with Thomas hot on his heels.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Roglič is coming back. He's managed to regain four seconds on Evenepoel, but still trails by 27.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Thomas topples Geoghegan Hart by one second! 41-25 is the new time to beat.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Leknessund will almost certainly be losing the maglia rosa today. Let's take a moment to admire the pink jersey in action this afternoon.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Hold the front page. Evenepoel is down on Thomas at the final time check by a fraction of a second.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Roglič clocks 41-41 over the line, 16 seconds down on Thomas. An admirable comeback from the Slovenian who crossed the first time check 31 seconds in arrears.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage nine: Evenepoel does it! He beats Thomas by just one second. The pink jersey will be going home with the Belgian for tomorrow's rest day.
That's all for today's live blog. Here's my report from stage nine of the Giro d'Italia, including what Evenepoel had to say after his victory.
Leknessund, after five days in the pink jersey, slips to sixth in the general classification.