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Liquigas blames Astana for time lost in L’Aquila

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) lost the pink jersey but on the post-race chat show on Italian television, it was widely agreed that the Liquigas-Doimo team was the big loser of the day, as both Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali finished almost 13 minutes behind Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and new race leader Richie Porte (Saxo Bank).

In what appears to have been a game of brinkmanship between Astana and Liquigas-Doimo, both teams refused to chase the break but both ended up losing out and will now have to go on the attack to pull pack the time they have lost. As the biggest and strongest Italian team in the Giro, Liquigas-Doimo came under the most fire, especially after Ivan Basso admitted they had made a serious mistake.

"We wanted to make the pink jersey work and then try something in the finale. It didn't work and we had to work on the front yet again," Basso told Italian television after the stage.

"It was a bad day for us. I don't want to reflect on what happened, we'll do that tonight. But it's a bad day because we didn't do what we wanted to do. After all the bad luck Sastre had, he's back in the race and will be a contender again."

Teams claimed they did not know who was in the 56-rider break until it had gained eight minutes. Liquigas had four riders in the break and so refused to chase, but with Astana also refusing to work hard so early in the 262km stage, the gap grew to 17 minutes.

Liquigas-Doimo team manager Roberto Amadio refuted the idea that his team was to blame, pointing the finger at Astana. The Kazakhstan team did not reply to his accusations.

"I think the Astana team should be ashamed of how they behaved. They didn't honour the pink jersey," Amadio said.

"They should have put some riders on the front and kept the gap to about six minutes. Then perhaps other teams would have helped them. We're not going to be a domestique for Evans and Vino. The gaps are significant but the Giro is not over. There are still some hard stages to come and this Giro won't be decided till Verona."

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