Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alexandre Vinokourov Goes Down!

While Italian heartthrob Filippo Pozzato earned a hard-fought sprint win in stage 5 of the Tour de France, Thursday's big news developed at the back of the pack, where pre-race favorite Alexandre Vinokourov lost 1:20 to his fellow GC contenders after crashing hard with 24km to go in the testing 182.2km run from Chablis to Autun.

The Astana team leader ripped a gaping hole in the right side of his bib shorts. His elbow, hip and knee were all badly scraped and bloody. The trauma didn't end there, though, as Vino' had to call on all but two of his teammates to aid in a furious chase back to the bunch, which was moving fast in pursuit of final two members of the day's prominent breakaway. By the end of the stage Vinokourov was on his own, save for a dozen or so dropped riders latched onto his wheel.