Pellizotti claims Giro's iconic Blockhaus stage
FRANCO Pellizotti's gutsy victory on the summit of the feared and iconic Blockhaus moved him into podium contention at the Giro d'Italia.
When organisers announced their centenary route last year this was the stage that would have given the peleton sleepless nights - a short but spiteful 83km slog from Chienti with a gradient that kicks viciously upwards.
But Pellizotti simply powered up the relentless climb, leaving behind the pre-stage favourites as he struck out for a solo and career defining victory.
Stefano Garzelli out-sprinted Danilo di Luca - second in the general classification - for second place, 42 seconds behind Pellizotti.
Race leader and maglia rosa Denis Menchov followed six seconds later in fourth and now has a slender 26-second advantage over former winner di Luca.
Lance Armstrong had a solid day in the saddle, perhaps his best climbing performance of the race so far.
He tried to give chase before he was caught and passed by the maglia rosa group, finishing ninth alongside Sylvester Szmyd, Gilberto Simoni and Carlos Sastre, just over two minutes behind Pellizotti.
"I got antsy and tried to go after him but I didn't have the legs," he admitted.