Weylandt Takes Stage 3 of Giro; Vinokourov Takes Maglia Rosa
Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) has won Stage 3 of the Giro.
Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) has won Stage 3 of the Giro. Weylandt took a bunch sprint to win the flat, 224-km, crash-marred run from Amsterdam to Middelburg, The Netherlands in 5:00:06. Graeme Brown (Rabobank) finished second, and Robert Forster (Milram) took third. Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) took the maglia rosa from Cadel Evans (BMC) after a crash delayed the Australian.
The hostilities began early. At two km, Olivier Kaisen (Omega Pharma), Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), and Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank) attacked. The trio led the field by 7:45 at 47 km. BMC began to chase, and eventually, Astana joined the chase.
Guillaume Blot (Cofidis), Rene Mandri (Ag2r), and Vinokourov crashed, but all three were up and riding quickly. At 124 km, the break's advantage had fallen to 1:40. Ten km later, the peloton had reeled in the escapees. With 70 km remaining, just after the break was reeled in, the wind had split the peloton into two groups.
Sky and Columbia drove the lead group, which contained most of the favorites. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) was caught out, however; he and Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago) were forced to chase.
With 35 km left, and the second group about to catch the maglia rosa group, Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) had a mechanical problem and had to chase. Ten km later, Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) crashed and broke his right clavicle. For the second straight year, the American had to abandon the Giro.
Liquigas and Columbia paced the lead group. With 10 km left, another crash occurred. Maglia rosa Evans was caught behind the mishap and forced to chase. Pablo Lastras Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne) and Bradley Wiggins and Dario Cioni (both from Sky) went down and spent the rest of the stage trying to catch the 25-rider lead group.
Columbia took the lead group, which included Vinokourov, into the last km. They were setting up Andre Greipel, but on the last corner disorder in the paceline and Weylandt's attack cost the German the stage. Weylandt surged for the finish line and held off Brown.
In the overall, Vinokourov leads Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) by a fraction of a second, with David Millar (Garmin) third at 0:01. Tomorrow will be the Giro's first rest day, and the race will move from The Netherlands to Italy. Stage 4, the first stage to be ridden in Italy, will be a 33-km team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo. The stage will shake up the standings and demonstrate the strength of each team. Who will win? Who will profit? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!