Vinokourov Wins Stage 11 of Tour
Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile) has won Stage 11 of the Tour de France.
Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile) has won Stage 11 of the Tour de France. Vino took a two-up sprint from Santiago Botero (Phonak) to win the mountainous, 173-km ride run from Courchevel to Briancon in 4:47:38. Botero finished second at 0:01, and Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) finished third at 1:15. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) remains the maillot jaune .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
From the start, the racing was aggressive. Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) escaped and forged a 5:20 lead by 30 km. On the lower slopes of the Col de la Madeleine, Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) attacked and was joined by Vinokourov, Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Botero, Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros), Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), and Pietro Caucchioli (Credit Agricole). Ahead, Hushovd dispensed with Dumoulin, carving out a 0:30 lead on the Frenchman, a 5:07 lead on the chase group, and a 6:56 lead on the Discovery Channel-led bunch.
When the chasers caught the leaders, Heras was dropped. At the summit of the Madeleine, Martinez and Botero were dropped, and Horner and Mancebo gave up hope of the break succeeding and eased up. At this point, the break led the bunch by 0:47.
Gradually, Pereiro, Botero, Martinez, and Vinokourov extended their lead over the field. The break led the maillot jaune group by 1:10 in Saint Avre (76 km), by about 2:00 at the base of the Col du Telegraphe (97.5 km), and by 3:15 at the climb?s summit (110 km). At this point, only Vinokourov and Botero remained in front.
Discovery Channel upped the tempo to keep Vinokourov from taking too much time out of Armstrong. On the Col du Galibier, Vinokourov dropped Botero. At the top of the Galibier, the highest point in this year?s Tour, Botero was at 0:42 and the maillot jaune group was at 2:40.
On the descent, Botero got back on. The 25-man strong maillot jaune group was at 2:25 with 35 km left. The duo was catchable, but Discovery Channel was saving its legs for the serious GC threats. The pair rode into Briancon unmolested, and Vino won the sprint easily.
In the overall, Armstrong leads Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) by 0:38 and Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) by 2:34. Stage 12 should not change this state of affairs. Because tomorrow is Bastille Day, look for French riders to attack singly or in groups to bring home the bacon on France?s national day. Who will win the rugged, 187-km ride from Briancon to Digne-les-Bains? Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)? Didier Rous? (Bouygues Telecom)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!