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Bradley Wiggins (Sky Professional Cycling Team)
Briton explains why he believes Vinokourov should be allowed to race
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) lost nearly all chance of overall success in the Giro d'Italia on the windswept roads of southern Holland after being caught up in a mass-crash of his team in the final kilometres of the stage.
Wiggins lost 3:59 to new leader Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and is now 55th overall, 4:28 behind the Kazakhstani rider.
Team Sky had ridden well for most of the stage, keeping Wiggins out of trouble in placing him in the front group with Vinokourov. However there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash. Fortunately he wasn't hurt.
"I'll be alright. That's the way it goes. Matt Hayman went down in the corner, and we all went down," he said as he boarded the coach taking the riders to Oostende airport for the flight to Italy.
"Today was a different from yesterday's stage. It was a bit more selective because of the course and the bike racing. It was just the strong guys at the front and the guys who couldn't hold it weren't at the front."
Greg Henderson and Dario Cioni also crashed, Henderson was in pain as he climbed on the bus but Wiggins insisted Team Sky would bounce back and be ready to try and win the team time trial on Wednesday.
"We're all fine. We'll be alright for Wednesday," he said.
"That's the Giro. It's always like that. There's so much road furniture and thing in the road. It's lethal really and everyone just gets so nervous when it's like that."
Clarification about Vinokourov
While Wiggins was getting showered and changing for the transfer, Vinokourov was pulling on the pink jersey and in the spot light as new race leader.
Some people were surprised that Wiggins had in some way defended Vinokourov during the press conference after he won the time trial stage on Saturday. It seemed that he was in some way supportive that Vinokourov was back, despitethe Astana rider never being repentant for the damage his blood doping in the 2007 Tour de France had done to cycling.
Wiggins has always taken a strong stand against dopers and is no fan of Vinokourov. He explained to Cyclingnews that he accepts that Vino should be allowed to race again because otherwise the debate about the rights and wrong of doping overshadow every rider's success.
"People ask me all the time, 'How do you race with these guys? Why do you not spit at them?' but you can't do that," Wiggins said to Cyclingnews.
"It's only bike racing, and it's actually the system that fails us as athletes. It's not really their fault (that they come back), it's the system's fault that allows them to do it. As long as they're allowed to race, what are we supposed to do? You have to race with them and treat them like anyone else, as rivals on the road. They're human beings, they're allowed to race. You can't blame them for wanting to come back, wanting to race and make money."
"Until they test positive, you have to accept the results they achieve. Otherwise it just makes everything a mess. Steve Cummings was 25th at Liège - Bastogne - Liège but all people were taking about was Vino and all the past winners of that race that have had troubles. But what about the riders who were up there? All that talk demoralizes them."
"If someone beats me in the Tour but I finish up there, I don't want it rubbed in that they might be doped. As far as I'm concerned, they're clean and getting on with their job. That's the way you have to deal with it."