I taly: Italian youngster Matteo Rabottini of Farnese Vini dramatically won stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia atop the Piani dei Resinelli ahead of new race leader Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain.
Rabottini pretty much led the 169-kilometre stage from Burso Arsizio from start to finish, crossing four summits in the lead and even crashing once before being caught inside the final 500 metres by Katusha climber Rodriguez.
But in spectacular scenes on the waterlogged Cat.2 climb, Rabottini thrilled the home crowds by somehow summoning the strength to pip Rodriguez in the final sprint and take his first ever Grand Tour stage win.
Rodriguez took consolation in seizing back the maglia rosa from Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal(Garmin-Barracuda), who finished 39 seconds back and now trails the Spaniard by 30 seconds in the general classification.
Another miserable day in north Italy started with 70 kilometres of racing across flat roads in the Brianza area culminating in an intermediate sprint at Lecco ahead of the first of four classified climbs.
Rabottini escaped from the peloton alongside Frenchman Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale) 18 kilometres into the race, moments before news filtered through of the withdrawal of one of the pre-race favorites, Frank Schleck of Luxembourg.
The RadioShack Nissan rider called it a day owing to a shoulder injury sustained in a crash during stage 11 to Montecatini. Schleck will now take time off to recuperate before beginning his training ahead of July’s Tour de France.