Tour de France: Astana's Andriy Grivko joins break of the day on stage 11
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tour de France: Astana's Andriy Grivko joins break of the day on stage 11

by Bjorn Haake at 7:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Everybody rides for Vinokourov on Kazakh team

Andriy GrivkoAndriy Grivko formed part of the break of the day in today's stage 11 of the Tour de France. The six-man move came very close to prevailing, being caught only three kilometers from the line. The loss of team captain Alexandre Vinokourov, who crashed out in stage nine, changed the Astana team's tactics.

Grivko didn't wait long to follow the new game plan. "Since the crash of Alexandre, our tactics have changed - now we are aiming for stage win and we will be mostly in the breakaways," the Ukrainian said. Grivko took off along with Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Lars Boom (Rabobank), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) after a little more than a dozen kilometers. "Today, we have worked well among the leading men and we were so close to achieving our goal!" The move was eliminated only three kilometers from the line of the 167.5 kilometers.

Grivko and his companions had to fight torrential rains during the stage between Blaye-les-Mines and Lavaur. "I felt good, I wanted to try and I have worked hard, but in the last 10 kilometers the wind was unfavorable. It's been really tough - but hey, you have to try!"

With Vinokourov out, Grivko and his Astana riders are taking over on the front line. "In the coming days, we will all try to do something with my teammates. We want a stage win - it is important for the team, but also for Vino."

Vinokourov was the undisputed leader and he tried to achieve his dream of the yellow jersey. He came close but ultimately ended his last Tour de France in hospital with a broken femur. "Alexandre is no longer aside us. At first it gave us a low morale, but we are professionals, we know how to rebound," Grivko explained.

The team had prepared specifically to support Vinokourov. "We relied a lot on him this Tour. We trained hard and we are in good condition, we want to show him that we're here and we haven't made ​​all these sacrifices for nothing! To do this we will go after every opportunity."

Grivko used the chance for a breakaway on the last day before the high mountains. Other riders will carry the Astana's hopes in the hills. "I think for the mountains we can count on Paolo Tiralongo and Roman Kreuziger," Grivko said. "Roman is recovering day by day from his wrist injury, and I think that if he has the opportunity, he can make something beautiful," said Grivko.

Kreuziger was one of the crash victims in stage seven, suffering injuries to his left wrist. Tiralongo took out a spectacular stage win in Macugnaga during this year's Giro d'Italia. "Tomorrow is the first mountain stage to test, to assess our condition and see if the legs respond as desired, because there will be long climbs," Tiralongo said.

Vinokourov obtained a third place in the Tour de France's stage four between Lorient and the Mûr-de-Bretagne. His Astana teammates will now try to at least match this result in the remaining week and a half of the race.


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