Wouter Weylandts Powers to Stage 3 Win in 2010 Giro d'Italia
World Champion Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) loses pink jersey to Team Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov who is now the overall leader of the 2010 Giro d'Italia.
Team Quick Step's Wouter Weylandt was the surprise winner of the third stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia earlier today when crashes again marred the race and helped Team Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov seize the overall lead.
Britain's Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky, who held the pink leader's jersey after day one, was involved in a pile-up for the second day running to leave his chances of challenging in the three-week race almost as tattered as the ripped shirt on his shoulders.
Fans running too close to the peloton and some tight corners on the seafront at the Middelburg finish appeared to contribute to the collisions, with American Christian Vandevelde clutching his shoulder in agony after one crash.
The Giro has been touring the Netherlands for the first three days before returning to Italy. Sunday's second stage from Amsterdam to Utrecht was also riddled with accidents, which were partly blamed on traffic islands.
Quick Step's unheralded Weylandt took the 224-km third stage in a time of five hours and six seconds, ahead of Australia's Graeme Brown and Robert Foerster of Germany.
Astana's Kazakh rider Vinokourov, who won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier this year having returned from a doping ban, took the pink jersey for the first time in his career. He is on the same time as Australia's Richie Porte of Saxo Bank.
Previous overall leader, Australian world champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), was held up by a crash and possible chain problem.
Critics have slammed Vinokourov for returning to the sport after his ban for blood doping in the 2007 Tour de France but rival Wiggins has interestingly been among those to say he deserves a second chance.
Last year's Giro runner-up Danilo Di Luca was found guilty of doping during the 2009 race and Franco Pellizotti, one of the favourites for this edition, was withdrawn before the start because of a drugs probe.
While doping, crashes and the absence of top names such as Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong have left the world's second biggest stage race reeling, at least the threat from an Icelandic volcano has receded.
Northern Italian airports were closed on Sunday because of the ash cloud from the volcano but they have now re-opened and riders and organisers are able to fly to Italy on Monday rather than taking buses from the Netherlands.
Tuesday is a Giro d'Italia rest day where the riders and Giro equipment will be transported from the Netherlands to Italy. The fourth stage takes place on Wednesday and will be a team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo in north western Italy. The race ends in Verona on May 30.
Stay tuned to us here at Roadcycling.com for complete 2010 Giro d'Italia coverage including video highlights from the race and visit www.universalsports.com/cycling for live video from the Giro.
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