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Ventoso grabs Giro d'Italia stage 9 win after several riders crash

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Francisco Ventoso of Spain 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, kept the overall lead for a third day.

Former Milan-San Remo winner Matthew Goss was set 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 injured. He is still recovering from a bad case of road rash in the third stage.

This 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, was timed in 3 hours, 39 minutes, 15 seconds for 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 were second and third, both with the same time as Ventoso.

Hesjedal remained nine seconds ahead of Spain's 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 top sprinters.

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