On just his third ever day in the Giro d’Italia, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has taken the leader's jersey from Cadel Evans (BMC). The Kazakh rode into the pink jersey after Evans was caught up behind a crash along the seafront with fifteen kilometres to go.
“It was very dangerous, we were riding on small roads,” Vinokourov said atthe finish line. “I managed to ride in the front and stay out of trouble in the first group. It was part of our plan to be active in the echelons. I’ve finished the job but the team has done excellent work.”
Astana was well represented in the front group of 29 riders with Paolo Tiralongo and Andreï Grivko in support of Vinokourov while Evans was left alone and forced to chase in order to limit the damages.
“I was riding the last ten kilometres without thinking of taking the pink jersey,” Vino said. “I had seen that Andre Greipel was up there, so I was convinced that he’d win the stage and take the pink jersey with the time bonus. But he didn’t win, so the jersey is mine. To get it is wonderful. I received it without looking for it, really. This is my first participation to the Giro d’Italia and I already have the jersey.”
When he left his home in Monaco to reach Amsterdam for the Giro, his twin sons Nikolaï and Alexandr who are eight years old, asked him to bring a pink jersey back as a gift. But there is more than a sentimental reason for the Kazakh to be happy in leading the race.
“This gives me so much satisfaction”, he added. “It’ll give us the privilege to start in last position for the team time trial. This is perfect. We’ll have more information about our adversaries. I don’t want to make any plan further than Wednesday. After the team time trial, we’ll see where we are on GC.”