Vinokourov shows form with third place atop Mûr de Bretagne
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Vinokourov shows form with third place atop Mûr de Bretagne

by VeloNation Press at 4:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Astana captain moves up to 18th overall

Alexandre VinokourovRiding his final Tour de France, Alexandre Vinokourov showed that he has the form to repeat his stage win of last year and perhaps aim high in the general classification when he galloped in third on today’s fourth stage of the race. The Astana rider finished just behind Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and Albert Contador (Astana), crossing the line towards the front of a ten man leading group.

Other race contenders such as Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek), Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling), Christian Vande Velde and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervélo), plus Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) finished in a chasing group eight seconds further back. Gaining time on those will be a big boost to his morale.

"It was a very complicated stage, with a finale which was physically difficult,” said Vinokourov afterwards. “I feel that the legs are there and that the condition is growing day after day. Today I had a good result, it gives me much more confidence for the following days.”

Vinokourov is a more explosive rider than some of the general classification contenders and so it remains to be seen how he will fare in the high mountains. However his strong third place in the Critérium du Dauphiné will also encourage him that he is on track for a decent showing there.

According to team manager Giuseppe Martinelli, today’s result will be very important for the Astana leader.

“Finishing in third position behind Contador and Evans is very good and it is very important for Alexandre’s confidence,” he said. “It also reinforces the confidence of his team, because it proves that they work in the service of a strong leader.

“This kind of stage may not be decisive for the overall standings of Tour, but they are very important for morale, and this is decisive for a three week race!”

Vinokourov will begin tomorrow’s stage 18th overall. He is 32 seconds behind the ongoing race leader Thor Hushovd. There are predictions that crosswinds could split the field in the days ahead; if so, the experienced veteran will seek to profit and move higher in the overall standings.

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