Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) took the lead in the Giro d’Italia on Monday as Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) sprinted to victory in stage 3.
The pan-flat 223km race from Amsterdam to Middelburg saw more crashes — including one that knocked Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) out of the Giro — and overnight race leader Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was caught out following another pileup, losing more than enough time to put Vino’ into the maglia rosa.
The early break
The day began with a break that managed to build a comfortable lead of nearly eight minutes.
- Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank), eighth at :09
- Olivier Kaisen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), 110th at 1:19
- Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), 118th at 1:22
The bunch was soon impatient, however, and set about pulling them back, making the catch with about 70km to go.
The peloton then fragmented, with Damiano Cunego (Lampre) stuck in a group trailing the maglia rosa bunch containing most of the contenders for the overall. Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) was caught out, too, as Team Sky and HTC-Columbia drove the pace up front.
The chase was just about to latch back onto the lead bunch when Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) had a mechanical and found himself chasing in a small group with some 35km to race. And then Vande Velde hit the deck hard, apparently breaking a collarbone; he would abandon the Giro with an injury for the second time in two years. (Related: Argyle goes awry: Vande Velde exits Giro as Farrar falls on GC)
Up front, Liquigas had joined HTC-Columbia in the pace-making and the group was splintering again as it raced alongside the North Sea, exposed to the wind. That’s when things went sideways for Evans — a pileup took down Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and Dario Cioni as well as Pablo Lastras Garcia (Caisse d’Epargne), and the maglia rosa was delayed and forced to launch a solo chase.
Evans made it into a second group, but would never regain the lead bunch, where Vino’ sat, ready to take over the race lead. And HTC-Columbia and Sky would see all their work go for naught, too. André Greipel was sitting third wheel, with Matthew Goss to lead him out and Lampre’s Danilo Hondo in his draft, but the train derailed in the final corner and Weylandt free-lanced his way to the stage win. Graeme Brown (Rabobank) took second with Robert Förster (Milram) third.
Evans would not cross the line for another 46 seconds. He and Garmin’s Tyler Farrar plummeted on general classification — Evans to 24th at 43 seconds back, and Farrar one second behind him in 25th.
The new wheeled order was Vinokourov in pink, with Riche Porte (Saxo Bank) second in the same time (he also leads the young rider classification), and David Millar (Garmin) third at one second back.
“I’m very satisfied to be in the pink,” said Vinokourov. “This allows us to go off last in (Wednesday’s) team time trial. That’s perfect!
“The team did excellent work. I saw Greipel was in front of us and I thought he’d take the jersey if he won. But he didn’t win and now we can really go for it in the time trial. The team will be more motivated than ever.”
Tuesday is a rest day for the Giro as the race transports itself from the Netherlands to Italy. Wednesday’s stage 4 is 33km team time trial, held on what is expected to be extremely fast conditions on flat, straight roads between the walled cities of Savigliano and Cuneo. (Related: 2010 Giro route.)
- 1. Wouter Weylandt (Bel), Quick Step, 5:00:06.
- 2. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.
- 3. Robert Förster (Ger), Milram, s.t.
- 4. Danilo Hondo (Ger), Lampre, s.t.
- 5. Adam Blyth (GBR), s.t.
GC after stage
- 1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), Astana, in 10:07:18
- 2. Richie Porte (AUS), Team Saxo Bank, s.t.
- 3. David Millar (GBR), Garmin-Transitions, at 0:01
- 4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Liquigas Doimo, at 0:05
- 5. Marcel Sieberg (GER), HTC-Columbia, at 0:07
Leader of most-aggressive competition
- 1. Paul Voss (GER) Milram 7 points
Team GC leader
- 1. Team Saxo Bank in 30:22:06
- 1. Graeme Brown (AUS) Rabobank 28 points
- 2. Wouter Weylandt (BEL) Quick Step 27 points
- 3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 25 points
Abandons, this stage
- Christian Vandevelde (USA) Grm DNF