Spanish rider Francisco Ventoso won the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia in a sprint finish Monday after several other contenders fell at the last turn.

Ryder Hesjedal, a Canadian with Garmin-Barracuda, held on to the overall lead for a third day.

Former Milan-San Remo winner Matthew Goss had his GreenEdge team setting him up for the sprint when he miscalculated the final curve and flew off his bike. He eventually got up and limped away.

World champion Mark Cavendish also went down, but did not appear to be injured - while still recovering from a bad case of road rash in stage 3.


It was the third mass crash of the race, following similar falls in the opening sprint stages in Denmark.

"When there's a group this big there's always risks,'' Ventoso said.

"I tried to stay fresh all week and today was a tough finish and I handled the last curve well. I saw some space and got myself in there.''

Ventoso, who rides for the Movistar team, clocked 3 hours, 39 minutes, 15 seconds over the 108-mile leg from San Giorgio Del Sannio to Frosinone, south of Rome.

Fabio Felline of Androni and fellow Italian Giacomo Nizzolo of RadioShack crossed second and third, respectively, both with the same time as Ventoso.

Hesjedal remained nine seconds ahead of Spanish standout Joaquin Rodriguez and 15 seconds in front of Italy's Paolo Tiralongo.

Most of the stage was flat, but there were a couple uphill sections shortly before the finish that made it tough for many of the top sprinters to contend.

Stage 10 Tuesday is a 116-mile hilly leg from Civitavecchia to Assisi.

Source: AP