2011 in Review: Stage 9 of the Giro

Alberto Contador was racing with the threat of a ban from day one. Convinced that it might be the last Grand Tour he would ever ride, El Pistolero took the first real climbing stage up the slopes of Mt. Etna as a platform to prove his prowess to fans around the world.

Already the favorite, Contador attacked his rivals with 5km to go. Nibali, Scarponi, Anton, Kreuzinger, and a big group of rivals watched the Spaniard attack, but the only man capable of responding on the day was Jose Rujano, the fun-sized climber for Farnesse-Vini who finally overcame his own doping and training demons to come back to top form.

The Etna stage was in question in the days before the race because of elevated seismic and volcanic activity in the weeks leading up to the Giro. As the day of the stage approached, no one was quite sure if they’d get to race on the historic mountain. Luckily, the race officials gave it the go ahead and the fans were treated to an outstanding show by Contador and Rujano. It didn’t turn out to be Contador’s last Grand Tour, but it was his last win before finally being handed a ban this past month.

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