Alexandr Vinokurov and Rigoberto Uran Take First and Second In Men’s London Road Cycling Race
In a wild day of cycling in London, Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Vinokurov took the top spot on the men’s road cycling podium, followed closely behind by Columbia’s Rigoberto Uran. Vinokurov bettered his 3rd place finish in 2000 with his top performance today in London. While he was planning retirement following the 2012 season already, Vinokurov was more than happy to win the biggest race of his career during its final moments. Team Great Britain, who was considered a heavy favorite in the race, controlled the front of the peloton most of the day, but didn’t have enough in the end to top Vinokurov and the rest of the riders in front of them. The United States’ Taylor Phinney, finished just outside of podium position in fourth place.
The 38-year-old Kazak, Vinokurov, was not initially in a lead breakaway pack of about 12 riders that distanced themselves very early in the race. With 8 laps, totaling 150 miles of racing, the peloton and Vinokurov looked unfazed in the beginning with all of the early breaks. As the group began to extend it’s lead, Great Britain’s David Millar closed a huge gap to join his countrymen at the front of the chase pack, further increasing their presence as favorites. As the riders slowly began to jockey for position throughout the day, it became apparent that Team GB and some of the other perennial favorites were not going to have what it took to chase down the leaders. Although they lead the peloton several times, doing most of the work for the main group, Team Great Britain ultimately came up short, as a 29th position finish from the World Champion was the host country’s best on the day.
With 300-meters left in the race, and Vinokourov and Uran alone out front, Vinokurov pulled off a stunning move. As Uran looked over his left shoulder to find Vinokourov on his back wheel, Vinokourov got out of the saddle and took off to Uran’s right, leaving the Columbian rider turned around and unable to counter the move in the final short sprint.
“I knew we needed to attack because I knew I wouldn’t win a sprint,” Vinokurov said of his decision to break away from the lead group with 10km left in the race.
It turned out to be the correct move, as the lead group, including some of the strongest contenders in the race, could not keep up. In a dramatic finish on The Mall in London, the men’s road cycling competition opened the world’s biggest event with a bang. It was an unpredictable and exciting day of racing, ultimately sending a Kazak to the top of the podium while all eyes were focused elsewhere.
Congratulations to Vinokurov, Uran and Phinney on their impressive day of racing in London. In a sport where riders compete in multi-day, and even multi-week tours, a one-day road race is anyone’s game. The riders proved this in London and kept viewers glued to the screen to witness a breathtaking day of racing, featuring the most premier road cyclists in the world.
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