Vinokourov Escapes to Stage 13 Win in 2010 Tour de France
Alexandre Vinokourov escapes to stage 13 win in Tour de France 2010; Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) maintains overall 2010 Tour de France lead ahead of Alberto Contador (Team Astana).
Alexandre Vinokourov found redemption in his return to the Tour de France after a doping ban, winning the 13th stage on Saturday by leading a bold solo breakway at the end.
Mark Cavendish of Britain was second and Italy's Alessandro Petacchi was third, leading a mass sprint in the pack. They crossed the line 13 seconds behind the Kazakh star.
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg retained the yellow jersey by keeping pace with his closest challenger -- two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador, who trails the leader by 31 seconds in second place.
Vinokourov looked backward at the trailing pack and thrust his arms skyward at the end of the 196-kilometer course from Rodez to Revel over five low-level climbs in 4 hours, 26 minutes, 26 seconds. He hugged Astana teammate Contador after the finish.
Vinokourov got out of the pack within the last 10 kilometers (6 miles), overtaking an earlier breakaway rider, Italy's Alessandro Ballan, and then held off the pack on a late descent.
"It was a beautiful victory, a beautiful reward," Vinokourov said after the fourth Tour stage victory in his career.
Vinokourov is back after serving a doping ban. The 36-year-old veteran, who won the Tour of Spain in 2006, was kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France for blood doping in one of the biggest scandals of the doping-marred race that year.
The top standings didn't change because the main contenders crossed in the same pack.
"It was a good day for my team," said Schleck, the Saxo Bank leader. "We didn't have to work. ... Today was calm -- tomorrow is the battle. We're going to have a nice stage tomorrow."
Samuel Sanchez of Spain is third, 2:45 back.
Seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong cruised in a late-arriving bunch, and finished 04:35 back in 100th place - the fourth straight day he's lost time to the leader. The 38-year-old American has said his victory hopes are finished. He's 36th overall, 25:38 back.
The race enters the Pyrenees on Sunday - the first of four days of punishing climbs in the mountains that will play a key role in who wins the three-week race at the July 25 finish in Paris.
The 184.5 kilometer (114.65-mile) ride from Revel to the ski station of Ax-3 Domaines will lead riders up two extreme climbs, first the Port de Pailheres - one of the toughest ascents in cycling - and an uphill finish.
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