Frenchman John Gadret made a late attack to win the 144km 11th stage of the Tour of Italy from Tortoreto Lido to Castelfidardo on Wednesday as Spaniard Alberto Contador retained the leader’s pink jersey.
With the peloton hunting down a 12-man breakaway group, AG2R’s Gadret sprung from the pack with just 400m left and overhauled Spain’s Daniel Moreno to win by several bike lengths.
Joaquin Rodriguez took second and Giovanni Visconti was third while Saxo Bank’s Contador finished fifth on the stage.
The stage started with a minute’s silence dedicated to Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt who died after a crash on the Bocco mountain pass during the third stage on May 9.
His funeral was held on Wednesday in his home town of Ghent.
“I want to dedicate this victory to Weylandt. I was thinking all day about his funeral,” said Gadret.
“Even though I’m not Belgian I wanted to win for him.
“Cycling is a big family, since he died I haven’t stopped thinking about his fall.
“I wanted to do something to pay hommage to him and I’m happy.”
There were a number of attempted breakaways in the early part of the stage before a 12-man group finally got away.
Chief among them was Frenchman Christophe Le Mevel who started the day third in the overall standings, just 1min 19sec behind Contador.
With Le Mevel in the group the peloton never let them get more than just a couple of minutes up the road and when the chase began, the time came down quite quickly.
Daniel Moreno and Ignatas Konovalovas broke away from the leading group and stole 30 seconds on them but inside the final 2km the peloton had them in their sights.
Moreno tried to go it alone but Gadret attacked from the bunch on an uphill finish and took over the lead with about 300m to go.
Le Mevel paid for his earlier efforts as he lost nine seconds and dropped to fourth.
Kanstantsin Sivtsov of Belarus is second in the overall standings while Italian Vincenzo Nibali has moved up to third.