Tour de France: Vinokourov misses out on stage win, gets most aggressive rider award on stage 18
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Tour de France: Vinokourov misses out on stage win, gets most aggressive rider award on stage 18

by VeloNation Press at 3:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Astana leader pledges to keep trying in final Tour

Alexandre VinokourovIt was probably his final chance to take a stage win in what is his last Tour de France, but instead Alexandre Vinokourov had to be satisfied with the most aggressive rider award on today’s eighteenth stage of the race.

The Astana leader infiltrated the early break of sixteen riders and was particularly aggressive in the finale, attacking several times when the break was being thinned out and pushing on ahead prior to the final climb.

He, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) and Luca Paolini (Katusha) were the trio in the hunt for the win, and were joined after the descent by Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) and Andreas Klöden (RadioShack Nissan).

They pushed on towards the line but the peloton absorbed them inside the final kilometres, bringing their bid to an end and setting Mark Cavendish up for the win.

“We tried all day to animate the stage. I lacked a bit, but I did everything I could and I have no regrets,” Vinokourov said after the stage. “We took advantage of the break, and the fantastic support of the public. I found that I've been able to come back with good condition, even if I do not play it out for the general classification anymore.”

He indicated that he would keep fighting until Paris, with tomorrow’s time trial and Sunday’s final stage remaining. He won on the Champs Elysees in 2005 and while the likelihood is that a bunch sprint will settle things there, Vinokourov keeps hoping.

“There are still two days to try,” he said. “Then I hope I can do something good in London, although we have only two representatives of Kazakhstan at the Olympics.”

Team manager Giuseppe Martinelli was glowing in his assessment of an aggressive ride. “Vinokourov has proved once again that he is a true champion; he was in the break for more than 150 kilomeres and, even though the peloton was hanging on not far behind, he did not give up and kept the break going right to the end.

“I am really sorry that he did not take the win. The ‘most aggressive rider’ prize – as voted for by a panel of experts – demonstrates Vino’s great riding, but it does not do justice to his great performance in this Tour.”


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