The seventh stage of the 2010 Giro d’Italia today was not so rosy as the previous days had been for Italian team Liquigas. Vincenzo Nibali lost the pink jersey and, together with Ivan Basso, finished two minutes behind rival Cadel Evans.

The cause? A crash with 33 kilometres to race as the peloton prepared to hit Siena’s white gravel roads, which had turned to a brown mud from the day’s rain.  

Nibali and Basso both crashed on a right-hand corner on a descent with team-mate Valerio Agnoli ahead of the first of the race’s two gravel sectors. The timing was terrible, the gravel roads helped Evans (BMC Racing) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) open a gap of two minutes by the finish in Montalcino.

“I was bad off, for a minute and a half I could not pedal,” Nibali explained.

Agnoli gave him his bike, but a stunned Nibali could not ride it because it was too large. He stopped, got another bike and started a chase that would not end until the finish line.

“It was not easy. Ahead there were 20 riders giving their all, even if we were going strong too,” added Nibali.

Basso, who had been up the road, decided to sit up wait for Nibali. Liquigas’ two captains worked together, but the pink jersey was lost (to Vinokourov) along with precious time for the overall race.

“It was a negative day,” said Basso, “but you have to count on some days not going how you want.”