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Rediff.com  » Sports » Kazakh cyclist Vinokourov wins men's road race

Kazakh cyclist Vinokourov wins men's road race

July 28, 2012 22:05 IST

Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov sprinted to victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday, crushing British hopes of gold on the first full day of competition at the London Olympic Games.

Vinokourov surged past Colombia's Rigoberto Uran on the final stretch near Buckingham Palace in central London after a star-studded British team had failed in a desperate attempt to bridge a gap of nearly a minute behind the leading pack and set up a win for world champion Mark Cavendish.

- London Olympics 2012 - Complete coverage

Alexandre Vinokourov After Friday night's opening ceremony, where Britain laid on an exuberant and sometimes eccentric extravaganza for the world, local hopes were running high that world road racing champion Cavendish could win the host nation's first gold of the Games.

But despite controlling much of the race, the home team, including Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, failed to rein in a 32-man group on the way back to the centre of the city after nine ascents of Box Hill in rural Surrey.

The victor, a tearful Vinokourov, was suspended for two years in 2007 for blood doping. He announced he was quitting professional cycling after crashing out of the Tour de France last year, but could not resist the urge to get back on the bike.

Norway's Alexander Kristoff took bronze, and Britain's Cavendish finished 29th, 40 seconds behind the winner after the gruelling 250-km (156-mile) slog.

Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

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