Sir Bradley Wiggins was forced to dig deep to stay in contention for the Giro d'Italia after a difficult day in the saddle.
The pre-race favourite lost track with race leader Vincenzo Nibali's pink jersey group during a long descent in torrential rain.
At one point he was down 60 seconds but after working hard with Team Sky team-mates, the Tour de France winner got back in the group, meaning he remains fourth overall, one minute and 16 seconds off the space.
Maxim Belkov took the 170km ninth stage, crossing the finish line in Florence 44 seconds ahead of Carlos Betancur.
Wiggins will now enjoy a rest day but knows Tuesday's tenth stage, a 167km race from Cordenons to Montasio, which features two category one mountain climbs, could be decisive to his overall maglia rosa ambitions.
© Sportsbeat 2013