Among the favourites for the overall classification of the Giro d’Italia, only Cadel Evans finished ahead of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). The Kazakh finished three seconds down on Evans and was happy with his debut in the Italian race.
“It was a pretty fast time trial”, he told Cyclingnews. “It’s unfortunate that I didn’t manage to use a more supple gear. In the last kilometre, it became quite difficult to hold the handlebars. But I’m happy with the result. It’s alright.”
When he returned to racing last year after a two years ban, Vinokourov won three races: the time trial of the Tour de l’Ain, the Asian championship for time trial and the Chrono des Nations which is also a race against the.
“But I’m not a specialist for the prologues”, the Kazakh said. “This is a very special effort. It’s a bit short for me. But I’ve given everything I had. I got confirmation after Liège-Bastogne-Liège that my condition is good for the Giro. This result will help for my confidence in the next three weeks.”
Vinokourov was in a good mood as he realized he received a positive welcome in the Netherlands. “The public was very warm-hearted,” he said.
Another reason for Vino to be satisfied was the performance of his team-mates of the Astana team. Ukrainian champion Andreï Grivko who scored an early best time for a while was 14th only seven seconds behind his team captain.
With Enrico Gasparotto in 20th position, Alexandr Dyachenko in 26th, and with young gun Roman Kireyev in 43rd, Astana looks pretty good before the team time trial, the stage in which Vinokourov might take some advantage over Evans on GC.
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