After losing the overall lead of the Giro d'Italia in the team time trial, Alexandre Vinokourov took the result in stride as his Astana team did enough to put time into some of the contenders. While he lost 38 seconds to Liquigas-Doimo's leaders Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, Vinokourov gained time on Cadel Evans (BMC).
Astana was down to the minimum of five men as the team came into the final metres of the stage, but despite Vinokourov urging teammate Gorazd Stangelj to hold on, the Slovenian dropped off the pace and lost the team precious seconds because the time of the team was taken on the fifth man crossing the line.
"The time lost isn't the fault of the fifth guy," said Stangelj. While his team captain expressed frustration as he crossed the line, shaking his head and pounding on his knee, within a few minutes he had regained his composure. "38 seconds behind Liquigas, it's not bad," Vinokourov said. "The good thing is that Liquigas will defend the pink jersey now."
Despite the problems at the finish, the Kazakhstani captain was satisfied with the effort of the team. "I've done a lot in the turns but as a team we've worked well", Vinokourov told Cyclingnews. "We found a good rhythm. We did it flat out. We started quietly. For sure the bad weather penalised us and we've lost some time in the final hill but not too much."
The winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège enjoyed his two days of glory – including one rest day – with the pink jersey but he wasn't devastated to lose it. He would have been happier with a deficit of 25 seconds rather than 38, but new race leader Vincenzo Nibali is only 33 seconds ahead of him and Ivan Basso 20.
"My objective was to gain time over the climbers," Vinokourov explained. He mentioned Cadel Evans as he knew the Australian was 43 seconds behind but he hasn't gained anything over Carlos Sastre as the Cervélo TestTeam has scored the same time as Astana. On the other hand, Italian contenders Michele Scarponi and Stefano Garzelli have lost 1:46 and 2:01 with their Androni and Acqua & Sapone teams, respectively.