Vinokourov Wins Stage 9 of Tour de France
Alexander Vinokourov (Telekom) has won Stage 9 of the Tour de France.
Alexander Vinokourov (Telekom) has won Stage 9 of the Tour de France. The Kazakh rider attacked on the day's final climb to win the mountainous, 184.5-km ride from Bourg d'Oisans to Gap in 5:02:00. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) outsprinted Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) for second at 0:36. Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) remains the maillot jaune.
The attacks began early. Ten riders escaped on the Category 1 Col du Lautaret at 38.5 km. Four others joined the break on the descent. Behind the leaders, the peloton split into two groups. At the top of the Hors Categorie Col d'Izoard, the break led the bunch by 5:30.
The chase began on the Category 2 Cote de St. Apollinaire at 156 km. The heads of state went to the front and led the pursuit. With 10 km left, Vinokourov attacked on the Category 3 Cote de la Rochette. The Telekom star overtook the break's remnants and forged a 0:15 break on a chase group led by Armstrong and Joseba Beloki (ONCE). The chase gathered momentum and would have overtaken Vinokourov if disaster had not struck.
With four km remaining, Beloki's rear tire exploded during a descent into a hairpin turn. The Basque rider hurtled over his bicycle and broke his right elbow, right wrist, and right femur. Armstrong narrowly avoided disaster by swerving to the left off of the road. He cut across a plowed field, dismounted, ran across a ditch, remounted, and joined the chase group. The tumult took the momentum out of the pursuit.
In the overall, Armstrong leads Vinokourov by 0:21 and Mayo by 1:02. Stage 10 will not change this state of affairs. The downhill, 219.5-km run from Gap to Marseille might see a solo rider or a group of no hopers who are attempting to salvage something from their Tours escape. Who will win? Check in on http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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