Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban

Alexandre Vinokourov wins, Tour de France 2010, stage 13

Tour de France 2010, stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Alexandre Vinokourov marked his comeback to the Tour de France today in Revel with a stage win. The Kazakh marked three years since he last astonished fans with his aggressive wins that were subsequently tainted by a blood doping positive.

"Staring the race was already an important step for me," Vino explained. "So this win means a lot."

Vinokourov nearly won yesterday after an all-day escape, which was caught by team leader Alberto Contador and Luis León Sánchez in the last kilometre. He bounced back today, though, three years after leaving the Tour de France in disgrace.

In 2007, he led Astana at the Tour de France. He struggled, but came away with a time trial win over Cadel Evans and a mountain stage win in Loudenvielle. One day later, he tested positive for a blood transfusion.

Vinokourov never confessed to doping, but said that he would retire after he was caught. He only received a two-year suspension when the UCI heard he planned to return.

Contador joined the team while Vinokourov was away, though he and Astana were not allowed to race the 2008 Tour de France. He instead went on to win the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España that year.

Vinokourov said at the start of this year that he is at the Tour de France only to help Contador win the overall. Yesterday and today, though, he was allowed his freedom for a stage win.

"After the stage, you could see that he [Contador] was happy for my win," added Vinokourov. "It's an important win for the whole team ahead of four mountain days in the Pyrenees."

Contador trails Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) by 31 seconds in the overall classification.

HTC-Columbia had hoped the stage ending in a sprint for Mark Cavendish. It worked in the final kilometres, but the Saint-Ferréol climb with 7.5 kilometres to go proved too much. Vinokourov slipped away after an attack from Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne).

Cavendish secured the sprint for second, taking 30 points and moving within 25 points of the green jersey and sprint classification leader, Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre).

"When Vinokourov went, he went so, so fast. It was an incredible ride from Vinokourov. He deserved the win and to hold off the peloton, it was a very impressive ride. I had to settle for second," said Cavendish.

"We can be satisfied with second. It's about minimising my losses now. I lost a lot of points in that first week and it's just about minimising my losses and seeing where we go when we get to Paris."

Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha took points in both of the two intermediate sprints today. He joined an early escape with Frenchmen Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and winner of two stages in this year's Tour de France, Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step).

Their move lasted until the final ten kilometres, just prior to the Saint Ferréol climb.

"It was not the goal to be in the breakaway today," said Flecha. "But we had to be in the front in case a good breakaway was going and I was there and I was feeling good today."

He said he had thought about his only other Tour de France stage win during the race. When he won just 50 kilometres away from Revel in Toulouse ten years ago, in 2003.


Tour de France 2010, stage 13: Rodez to Revel, 196km

1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana

2. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 13sec

3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini at same time

4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky

5. Jose Joaquin Rojas Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

6. Julian Dean (NZ) Garmin-Transitions

7. Anthony Geslin (Fra) Francaise des Jeux

8. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo

9. Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini

10. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale

Overall classification after stage 13

1. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 31sec

3. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2-45

4. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 2-58

5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma Lotto at 3-31

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) RadioShack at 4-06

7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 4-27

8. Joaquin Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha 4-58

9. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Caisse d'Epargne 5-02

10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 5-16


16. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 7-39

Points classification: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini

Mountains classificaton:
Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

Best young rider:
Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank


Cavendish wins sprint for second, Tour de France 2010, stage 13

Mark Cavendish wins sprint for second place

Andy Schleck on podium, Tour de France 2010, stage 13

Andy Schleck safely in yellow

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Tour de France 2010: rest day review (July 12)

Armstrong's Tour de France dream ends

Sky's objective clear ahead of Tour's high mountains

The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks

Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour

Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race

Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day

Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour's white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Tour 2010 wallpaper

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage 11 video highlights

Stage 10 video highlights

Stage nine video highlights

Stage eight video highlights

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special


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