Giro d'Italia: Vinokourov will fight all the way to Verona
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giro d'Italia: Vinokourov will fight all the way to Verona

by Steve Jones at 2:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

Astana's leader Alexandre Vinokourov lost the pink jersey to Saxo Bank's Richie Porte on today's eleventh stage of the Giro d'Italia after missing out on a massive split in the peloton.  He wasn't alone in the 26-man group that was left behind and, although he was in the maglia rosa, he looked at the overall contenders in the group with him to bring the front group back.

"The break went away and none of the favourites reacted. It was too cold and too rainy to take risks. It was a very tough day again. Of course, in these conditions the body doesn't respond as well, but today there are some who haven’t taken their responsibilities. They may have regrets," he said after the stage.

Also caught out of the 56 rider break were Liquigas riders Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, along with world champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli).
"I felt that nobody wanted to start the chase, and it shouldn't be me who they look at to do even more [work]. I wore the pink jersey for five days, and riders like Basso and Nibali are more likely to win the Giro than me," he explained about his decision to let them go.

"It wasn’t me who had [the responsibility] to work for them. Nobody thought the break would earn much time. In the beginning we gave to the chase with Acqua e Sapone and BMC, but after a while we said 'Basta!' The others have to work!"

Vinokourov said that it was too late when everyone realized the gap had swelled:  "Liquigas had realized too late that it would upset the [overall] rankings."

By the end of the day Cervelo TestTeam's Carlos Sastre had leapfrogged all of the overall favorites, and in one stage made up for all of his misfortune in the first half of the race.

To add insult to injury, the Kazakh also lost Italian Enrico Gasparotto and Kazakh Valentin Iglinskiy today, thinning his Astana team to just six riders. ”For sure, it's not good news, but today we saw that the bunch was very tired. I think there have already been many dropouts and people finishing beyond the time cut, so we’re not alone in this situation," he said.

The plan hasn't changed for the Astana team, and with a surprising Giro d'Italia thus far, Vinokourov said he hasn't thrown in the towel: "It won’t prevent from fighting all the way to Verona to keep alive my chance to get on the podium as I had said at the beginning of the Giro. For the Italian favorites such as Basso, Nibali they should show that they are there to win the Giro. They are actually the biggest losers. As far as I'm concerned, I think I’ve shown since the beginning that I came back to a good level and that is what I wanted.”


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