Australian Cadel Evans has kept the leader's pink jersey after a 172-kilometre run from Lugo to Sestola in the Giro d'Italia, as Dutchman Pieter Weening won the ninth stage.
Weening outsprinted Italian Davide Malacarne of Europcar after the two men rode in tandem over the final 15km after breaking away from their escape group.
The 37-year-old Evans, Tour de France champion in 2011 and third in this race last year, placed seventh on the stage.
Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo came home alone in third and 42 seconds behind, while the main pack crossed the line 1 minute 8 seconds adrift to comfortably keep Evans in pink.
Colombian Rigoberto Uran is second at 57 sec, while Polish rider Rafal Majka remains third at 1 min 10 sec.
Evans's BMC teammates were controlling proceedings at the front of the peloton before a pile-up in the race for home left several riders injured and struggling to continue.
"It wasn't an easy stage," admitted Evans.
"But the team did a good job of controlling the race and it's been a good day.
"We saw in the final climb that the overall contenders have more or less the same level. I don't see someone capable of making a big difference on these kinds of climbs and that suits me fine."
The riders will now enjoy a rest day on Monday before stage 10 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis has failed to close a 30-sec gap between him and Britain's Bradley Wiggins, who took the Tour of California title following the final stage over rolling hills in Los Angeles. - AFP