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 day began with a break that managed to build a comfortable lead of nearly eight minutes.
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 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.”
* 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