Vinokourov will miss an important teammate in the mountains
Astana's Paolo Tiralongo had to pull out of the Giro d'Italia after crashing during stage 6. The Italian rider stayed on the ground for a few minutes following his crash and was transported to the nearest hospital in Pontremoli. He bruised his right shoulder, knee and wrist and seemed to be shocked after his crash although radiography indicated that no bones were broken.
Tiralongo rejoined his team at its hotel in Forte dei Marmi but he will not be able to continue racing. His absence will be felt by his teammate Alexandre Vinokourov, one of the favourites for the Giro.
"It's always leaves an impression to see a rider on the ground," Astana's directeur sportif Laurenzo Lapage said. "It's a shame because Tiralongo was well placed, in 10th position overall. He was among the best climbers in the Giro and the one who has the capacity to follow Vino in the mountains."
Tiralongo was supposed to be Vinokourov's right-hand man during the Giro. At the age of 32, the Italian pro is an experienced rider in the Grand Tours. He finished 15th in the 2006 Giro d'Italia and eighth in the Vuelta a Espana last year, but he spent the past four years at the service of Damiano Cunego.
It was Alberto Contador who requested Astana recruit Tiralongo after hearing that he was keen to move on after some friction at Lampre.
"We're still confident and the team will adapt," said Lapage regarding the two weeks still to come at the Giro d'Italia.
Tiralongo should be back in action for the Tour de France alongside Contador.
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