Giro d'Italia 3: Alexandre Vinokourov takes lead from Evans

Wouter Weylandt wins crash-filled strage

Veteran Alexandre Vinokourov, riding for Astana, took the overall leader's pink jersey following Monday's third stage of the Tour of Italy, the day's honours going to Wouter Weylandt of Quick Step.

Vinokourov bagged the pink jersey from Australian road race world champion Cadel Evans, whose chain came adrift some ten kilometres out from the line - though the second Aussie to wear the pink jersey at least twice after Bradley McGee managed to limit the damage to some 45sec after the 224km ride from Amsterdam to Middelburg.

Belgian Weylandt came in ahead of another racer from Down Under - Rabobank's Graeme Brown - and German Robert Förster after another strongly favoured German sprinter, Andre Greipel, slid just out of contention going into the final bend.

Weylandt clung on in the melee and nudged over the line to win in 5hr 00min 06sec as German Danilo Hondo of Lampre and Briton Adam Blyth of Omega Pharma Lotto brought up the rear while Saxo Bank's Australian Baden Cooke and Briton David Millar of Garmin were also in the mix.

Wouter weylandt wins the stage into middleburg: wouter weylandt wins the stage into middleburg
Wouter weylandt wins the stage into middleburg: wouter weylandt wins the stage into middleburg

Wouter Weylandt wins stage 3

"I'm very satisfied to be in the pink," said Vinokourov as the race completed its opening Dutch trio of segments. "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."

Evans for his part was annoyed that having taken no risks in the blustery wind he had still lost the pink jersey.

"What a day! Racing 225 kilometres on my nerves, with a crosswind. All that to end up finding myself adrift 9 kilometres from the finish. It is really enraging!" said Evans.

"Until then everything had gone swimmingly well. Then the wind started up and coming round a corner all the Sky team were on the ground.

"The rest of the guys fell on top of them. If Holland is a country that is extremely welcoming for cyclists, there are a lot of things on the roads that you don't see when you're in the peloton, the little obstacles that add to the problems."

Tuesday is a rest day which sees the peloton transfer to Italy.

© AFP 2010

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