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Alexandre Vinokourov - Tour Contender
By Podofdonny
Date: 7/17/2003
Alexandre Vinokourov - Tour Contender

Alexandre Vinokourov - Tour Contender

Despite great success already this season, most people underestimated Alexandre Vinokourov before the Tour started. However while other top favourites have fallen by the way side due to injury, sickness or just lack of form, the man from Petropawlowsk is now one of the main contenders in the race.

The experianced rider does not have any difficulties with his new role. It is "an ideal starting position", said "Vino" on the rest day in Montpellier. Talking to the excellent Radsportnews (to see original article click here) the talented rider discussed his chances of tour success...

Do you think you can win this Tour?

Vinokourov: It is a dream, which will be very difficult to achieve. I will do my best. I will see, in the Pyrenees whether my form from the Alpes holds up. If it does I will attack again. But generally I do not have the legs for a three week race.

How are you feeling on the rest day, half way through the race?

Vinokourov: I am not too exhausted.

Has your victory in Gap changed anything?

Vinokourov: It has given me more self-confidence. But I must say in all honesty that I am slightly surprised to find myself in such a good position.

Did Beloki make a mistake trying to chase you down?

Vinokourov: I think he simply took great risks in order to try and catch me. In a race situation it is often like that that, you do not really think about the risks involved.

Where you thinking of the podium before the start of the race?

Vinokourov: Yes, I said that at times. Then my DS Mario Kummer reminded me to let my legs do the talking. However I did say it again after Gap.

Who are the main contenders in the fight for a podium spot?

Vinokourov: Naturally Lance Armstrong. Also Iban Mayo, even if we do not know, how he will do in the time trial. Tyler Hamilton does not stop impressing me, I thought, he would have abandoned a long time ago. Then there is Jan Ullrich and five or six other riders.

Armstrong is not such a strong favourite as we thought…

Vinokourov: You must ask Armstrong about that. But I look at him a little differently after the Alpes - but it does not change anything. We will see in Paris.

What result are you hoping for in the Time Trial?

Vinokourov: I will be happy if I do not lose more than one and a half minutes to Armstrong. I have improved (in the time trial). I have my own style. But in the fight against the clock strength and good legs count more than anything else.

You and Ullrich could form an alliance against Armstrong?

Vinokourov: Well if we can help ourselves, why not? I have a great understanding with Jan, even if we are no longer team colleagues. He said to me that if he is feeling better he too will attack in the Pyrenees.

What is the reaction from Kazakhstan?

Vinokourov: The prime minister called me after my victory. He told me he has been following the race by radio and television. However it is unfortunate that no journalists from Kazakhstan are here.

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Vinokourov winner of Paris Nice, Amstel Gold Race and the Tour de Suisse already this season.

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