Alexandre Vinokourov announces his retirement from professional cycling
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alexandre Vinokourov announces his retirement from professional cycling

by Ben Atkins at 12:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Controversial Kazakh forced to make decision early after injuries sustained in Tour de France crash

alexandre vinokourovThe Astana team’s controversial figurehead Alexandre Vinokourov has announced his retirement from professional cycling, according to l’Equipe. The 37-year-old Kazakh reportedly made the statement on French television, this afternoon, having been operated on for the broken femur that he sustained in a crash on the road to Saint-Flour on stage nine of the Tour de France.

‘Vino’ was expected to retire at the end of the season anyway, although he had made noises about a possible appearance at next year’s Olympic Games in London; his crash on the descent of the Pas de Peyrol though, has forced the decision to come early.

“I don’t think I’ll get back on my bike as a professional,” he said. “I’ll stop here. We will try to find a new role in the Astana team for me.”

Vinokourov has already retired from the sport once before. After testing positive for a homogulous blood transfusion – having somebody else’s blood in his body – in the 2007 Tour de France he received a single year’s suspension from the Kazakh Cycling Federation. He promptly announced his retirement, but later recanted.

On the news of his forthcoming return the International Cycling Union (UCI) appealed the single year’s suspension to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) and successfully had it extended to the standard two years. This time his retirement looks permanent though.

Despite his controversy Vinokourov has remained one of the most popular riders in the sport, largely thanks to his combative style and apparent spontaneity in races.

His best results include two editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, two of Paris-Nice, the 2006 Vuelta a España, a third place finish in the 2003 Tour de France, and is one of the few riders to have denied the sprinters on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, which he managed with a final kilometre attack on the last stage of the 2005 race.

Vinokourov will likely take up a director’s role of some sort in the Astana team, which was built around him after the withdrawal of Liberty Seguros midway through the 2006 season.

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