Click here to watch video highlights of stage 15
Click here to view a gallery of photos from stage 15

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) won today’s tough Pyrenean mountain stage after launching a late attack on the final climb of the day, the Col de Peyresourde. He then swooped down to Loudenville to take the win, hotly pursued by a group containing race leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank).

To say that Vinokourov’s form is yo-yoing would be an understatement. The Kazakh Tour veteran won Saturday’s individual time trial, regaining valuable time over his rivals only to promptly give the whole lot away – and some – in yesterday’s stage. Vino lost 28 minutes 50 seconds to stage winner Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), completely ruling out his overall chance in the race once and for all.

The day’s action was dictated by an early, sizeable break which contained several riders hovering outside the top ten of the overall classification – namely Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) and Vinokourov.

Vinokourov, Kirchen, Zubeldia, David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) and Juan Cobo (Saunier Duval) were the only survivors of that break by the time they reached the Peyresourde, before Vino’s attack shattered the group. They managed to hold a six minute lead over a select group of favourites containing Rasmussen at the foot of the mountain, before being Vino’s surge.

Rasmussen and Contador worked together to drop Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), which they did with seeming ease, growing the overall classification gap between second-placed Contador and third-placed Evans to one minute and 37 seconds. Rasmussen’s lead over Contador stands at 2-23.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the race’s second rest day, before another thumping Pyrenees stage from Orthez to Gourette on Wednesday, which features two first cat and one hors cat climb within its 218.5 kilometres. The riders are going to need the break.

Related links:
Click here to view a gallery of photos from stage 15
Click here to watch video highlights of stage 15
News: Pat McQuaid and David Millar attack Rasmussen over missed drug tests

1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
2 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) at 49 secs
3 Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) at same time
4 Juan Cobo (Saunier Duval) at 51 secs
5 Juan Garate (Quickstep) at 2-16
6 David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) at 3-23
7 Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) 4-25
8 Christian Vandevelde (CSC) at same time
9 Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r) at 5-16
10 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) at 5-31
11 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) at 5-31
12 George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) at 5-47
13 Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) at 6-27
57 Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) at 21-09
80 David Millar (Saunier Duval) at 28-25
149 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) at 35-45
151 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) at same time

1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
2 Alberto Contador (Dicovery Channel) at 2-23
3 Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) at 4-00
4 Levi Leipheimer (Dicovery Channel) at 5-25
5 Andreas Kloden (Astana) at 5-34
6 Carlos Sastre (CSC) at 6-46
7 Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) at 7-27
8 Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) at 7-54
9 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) at 8-24
10 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) at 9-21
61 Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) at 1-36-05
76 David Millar (Saunier Duval) at 1-52-15
138 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) at 2-42-20
158 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) at 2-59-58

1 Tom Boonen (Quick Step) 195 points
2 Robert Hunter (Barloworld) 175
3 Erik Zabel (Milram) 174
4 Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) 132
5 Sebastien Chavanel (FDJeux) 127

1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) 142 points
2 Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) 140
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) 104
4 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) 85
5 Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) 78

Click here to watch video highlights of stage 15
Click here to view a gallery of photos from stage 15

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