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Alexandre Vinokourov is the new Olympic champion
Jul 29th, 12. Alexandre Vinokourov from Kazakhstan won the 2012 Olympic Gold medal in a stunning upset over the race favorites Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel. In fact, none of the race favorites were even a factor in today's race.
by guest reporter Mead Norton
A large break away of eleven riders lead by Australian rider Stuart O'Grady got away around the 15km mark in the 250km race which started and finished in The Mall outside Buckingham Palace, London.
The break consisted of Lieuwe Vestra (Netherlands), Stuart O'Grady (Australia), Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia), Denis Menchov (Russia), Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium), Marco Pinotti (Italy), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain), Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain), Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), Timothy Duggan (USA) and Michael Schar (Switzerland).
The peloton, controlled by the powerful Great Britain team, let the break away riders go, thinking there was plenty of time to reel them in and set up Cavendish for the sprint victory.
Due to O'Grady's experience and leadership, however, the Austrralian was able to keep the lead group working together and the peloton never saw the break again.
At one point the peloton was almost 6min behind.
The Great Britain team was left alone at the front of the peloton to reel the leading group back in, with the other teams hoping they would wear themselves out and not have anything left for the final bunch sprint. Unfortunately the leading group was just too stong for the Great Britain team to pull them back alone.
On the last of nine laps up the Box Hill climb, Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) leapt from the peloton. His attack drew a response from ten other riders and eventually this group bridged up to the leaders, forming a large breakaway of 22 riders.
At this point there was only about 40sec between the lead group and the peloton. New Zealand's Jack Bauer, having left an unwell Greg Henderson behind in the peloton, made the jump to the leading group.
In the lead group there were a few teams that managed to get multiple riders in the bunch and those teams took over the pace making for the leading group.
The Italians had three riders and took on the lions share of work at the front, with help from Switzerland. Their group managed to maintain about a minute lead over the peloton and it was really a 50/50 chance whether the breakaway could hold out until the finish.
As the chase was getting serious, Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara crashed into the barriers with 10km to go as he led the break around a tight right hand corner. The defending Olympic time trial champion went down hard, thereby neutralising himself as a serious contender from the front group.
Even with Great Britain pulling hard, the lead group still had about a minute gap over the peloton - much to the angst of the crowd.
With just over 7km to go Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) and Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) attacked on a short downhill section and got a gap over the rest of the break group and no one was able to respond.
Vinokourov make his winning move 400m from the line when Uran happened to be looking over the wrong shoulder. The 38 year old, who won silver at the road race at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, went on to win by a few bike lengths.
Norway's Alexander Kristoff crossed the line in 3rd place 8sec later. From the same breakaway group, Jack Bauer finished 9th. Cavendish and the rest of the peloton flew down The Mall to the loud cheers of their home crowd 40sec later.
Henderson pulled out of the race on the fifth lap of Box Hill.
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