Cycling

Belkov wins 9th Giro stage with long solo escape

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP)

Maxim Belkov of Russia won the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday with a superb solo performance, and Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall lead.

Belkov, who rides for Katusha, won in 4 hours, 31 minutes and 31 seconds, beating Carlos Betancur by 44 seconds following a long solo escape on the wet and hilly 170-kilometer (106-mile) ride from San Sepolcro to Florence. Jarlinson Pantano was third, 46 seconds behind Belkov.

The 28-year-old Belkov attacked 31 miles from the finish and maintained his advantage for his first Grand Tour stage victory.

Nibali finished 10th on the stage to retain the overall leader's pink jersey. Defending champion Ryder Hesjedal has dropped out of the top 10 and is now more than three minutes behind Nibali.

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