He finished two seconds ahead of Poland’s Bartsz Huzarski and Italian champion Giovanni Visconti at the end of the 186km ride from Civitavecchia to Assisi, which featured two short climbs in the closing 3,5km.
Italian Domenico Pozzovivo took fourth place at 6sec, just ahead of Frenchman John Gadret and Canadian former race leader Ryder Hesjedal.
Rodriguez showed his explosive climbing abilities, leaving it late on the narrow streets of Assisi to reel in Dutchman Tom-Jelle Slagter to ensure his first Giro stage victory. It’s the first time he has worn the leader’s jersey and he is a full 17sec ahead of Hesjedal, with Italian Paolo Tiralongo third at 32sec.
An early five-man breakaway built up a five-minute lead on the main peloton, but Hesjedal and his team reeled them back in 6.5km from the finish.
Wednesday’s 11th stage sees riders tackle a 255km run from Assisi to Montecatini Terme, in Tuscany, on largely flat terrain with two climbs, the second coming 11km from the finish line.
10th Stage Result
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 4hr 25min 05sec
2. Bartosz Huzarski (POL/APP) 02sec
3. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 02
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/COG) 06
5. John Gadret (FRA/ALM) 06
6. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 06
7. Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED/RAB) 06
8. Dario Cataldo (ITA/OPQ) 06
9. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) 06
10. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 06
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 40hr 27min 34sec
2. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) at 0:17
3. Paolo Tiralongo (ITA/AST) 0:32
4. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) 0:52
5. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 0:52
6. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 0:57
7. Damiano Caruso (ITA/LIQ) 1min 02sec
8. Dario Cataldo (ITA/OPQ) 1:03
9. Eros Capecchi (ITA/LIQ) 1:09
10. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 1:10