Reuters - Mon, 10 May 20:41:00 2010
The windmills in the Dutch countryside were subtle warnings to those who thought the Giro d'Italia had found the perfect place to start this year's race.
Netherlands may be bike-mad and extremely flat but heavy winds on Monday contributed to a flurry of crashes in the third stage from Amsterdam to Middelburg, a day after similar problems in the second leg to Utrecht.
Despite organisers saying around a million people turned out to watch the Dutch section of the race, many riders will now be glad the three-week Giro returns to Italy for Wednesday's fourth stage onwards.
"What a difficult stage. Wind, crashes and big chaos," 2004 winner Damiano Cunego of the Lampre team said in a statement.
"With 10-km to go I had done everything right," the BMC rider said. "Then I came around a corner and the whole Sky team was on the ground.
"Guys were falling on top of me. Losing 40-some seconds to my competitors isn't something I wanted to give up."
Sky's Bradley Wiggins, who led after the first day's time trial through Amsterdam, was badly hampered by crashes on stages two and three but Vinokourov was unperturbed by the bedlam behind him.
"The team has done a good job today," the Kazakh said. "To finish like that, you are always happy. The team is in great condition and we can do well in the team time trial (on Wednesday)."
Giro - Stage 5: Thursday 1.30pm LIVE on British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 / Virgin 525) & on the Eurosport Player.