Giro d’Italia: Weylandt sprints to stage 3 as pink changes hands again
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Weylandt sprints to stage 3 as pink changes hands again

by Ben Atkins at 10:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Young Belgian gets back on track

Wouter WeylandtWouter Weylandt (Quick Step) won a scrappy sprint to take stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia between Amsterdam and Middelburg. Graeme Brown (Rabobank) was second with Robert Förster (Milram) third at the end of the flat 224km stage. Like yesterday the twisting narrow roads of the Netherlands, scattered with traffic islands caused a number of crashes. The wind from the North Sea as the course took the peloton along the Dutch coast added further chaos, with a number of riders losing a lot of time.

As usual an early breakaway was allowed to escape, with Olivier Kaisen (OmegaPharma-Lotto), Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) and Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank) going clear after just 2km. They quickly managed to pull out a lead of more than 8 minutes, and with Stamsnijder taking 6 seconds bonus at the Traguardo Volante sprint after 58.6km he moved to with 2 of pink jersey Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Unlike previous days though, an aggressive pace in the peloton as it approached the windy coast roads saw the lead rapidly diminish and the trio was caught with more than 70km to go.

The wind coming off the North Sea caused the expected chaos and with 60km to go the peloton was broken into three main parts. Maglia rosa Evans was safely in the front group along with other overall contenders Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) most of the HTC-Columbia team and the entire Sky team, including stage 1 winner Bradley Wiggins.

A crash with just over 30km to go brought down Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) and Marzio Bruseghin (Caisse d’Epargne) causing yet more splits. More seriously though was that the American was forced to abandon the race with a suspected broken collarbone.

With a little less than 10km to the finish yet another crash brought down a number of Sky riders, including Wiggins. While Evans himself managed to stay upright he was caught behind the resulting split as the front group accelerated away. With a number of sprinters missing out on the split, HTC-Columbia was keen to see that they didn’t make it back to the front. Together with Astana and Liquigas-Doimo, both of whose overall contenders were present in the front group HTC-Columbia kept the pace high, increasing the lead over the Evans group.

Evans himself came to the front of the chase group, but with too few riders willing to work, and riders from Liquigas-Doimo spoiling the chase, the gap continued to grow; from 22 seconds with 5km to go, to 31 seconds with 2km to go.

HTC-Columbia appeared to be in control in the twisting final kilometre, but as Matt Goss prepared to lead out André Griepel the big German appeared to hesitate, leaving a gap between himself and Goss. Weylandt spotted the gap and launched himself between the two HTC Columbia riders; Brown followed but was unable to come past and the young Belgian sprinter took his first ever Giro d’Italia stage victory.

Evans’ group came in 46 seconds later meaning that, like yesterday, the pink jersey was lost due to a crash in the closing stages. Vinokourov was the best-placed rider in the front group, and takes over the race lead. The main peloton consisting of almost 120 riders, and including Lampre-Farnese Vini’s Gilberto Simoni, finished 7’59” behind Weylandt.

Tomorrow will be a rest day as the race travels to Italy before Wednesday’s 33km team time trial.

Result stage 3
1. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3. Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram
4. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini
5. Adam Blythe (GBr) OmegaPharma-Lotto
6. André Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia
7. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
9. Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Team Milram
10. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Astana

Standings after stage 3
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Astana
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Saxo Bank @ st
3. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Transitions @ 1s
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 5s
5. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) HTC-Columbia @ 7s

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