Italian Matteo Rabottini's brave 150 kilometres breakaway ride was rewarded with victory in the 15th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday, the 172km run from Busto Arsizio to Lecco.

Spanish rider Joaquim Rodriguez regained the overall leader's pink jersey from Canada's Ryder Hesjedal, following the second successive mountain stage, after he came in second having caught Rabottini 350 metres from the finishing

Rodriguez - who distanced his main rivals two kilometres from the finish - holds a lead of 30 seconds over Hesjedal with a week remaining of the race.

The overall leader's compatriot Alberto Losada took third in the stage, coming in ahead of the first group of favourites in a stage that took place in rainy conditions.

Rabottini had broken away with Frenchman Guillaume Bonnafond and went over the top of all four climbs at the head of affairs while veteran Italian Damiano Cunego - the 2004 Giro champion - at one stage was in pink as he led a counter attack.

Rabottini, 24 and son of a former professional rider Luciano, overcame falling on the descent of Culmine di San Pietro and was able to hold on despite only having a two-and-a-half minute lead over Cungeo and his group going into the final climb and less than four minutes on the peloton.

Even though there is a rest day on Monday it was not enough to dissuade Luxembourg star Frank Schleck (shoulder problem), Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (breathing difficulties) or Australia's Graeme Brown from calling it a day during the stage.

Source: AFP