Olympic Road Race: Vinokourov

The 2012 Olympic Road Race in London has been won by Alexandre Vinokourov after an enthralling race around the Surrey Lanes as GB took on the Rest of the World

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Top 5 on the day GB fought like British bull dogs all day but in the end, the world got the better of them.

1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)
2 Rigoberto Uran (Colombia)
3 Alexander Kristoff (Norway)

The Race
A 144 riders lined up on the Mall a stones throw from Buckingham Palace and at 10am, they rolled out of London on roads packed with people cheering them on as they cruised away from the start. Within half an hour of riding, the riders started to get frisky and attacks came and went until a very dangerous group of a dozen riders was taken clear of the peloton by Australia’s veteran, Stuart O’Grady.

Photo: Rob Lampard – Velostars

The move of twelve represented twelve different contry’s but not Great Britain or Germany. The riders that made the break were Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium), Marco Pinotti (Italy), Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan), Denis Menchov (Russia), Stuart O’Grady (Australia), Tim Duggan (USA), Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain), Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia), Michael Schar (Switzerland), Alexander Kristoff (Norway) and Sungbaek Park (Korea).

With riders not having the luxury of race radio, there seemed to be a little confusion and at first, the GB led peloton appeared as though it was out for a Sunday ride on a Saturday. The lead of the break shot up and soon GB, led by Tour de France Winner Bradley Wiggins and the rider who was second to him, Chris Froome, were soon down on the drops and pulling hard at the front of the peloton to get a grip of the race.

Whilst French rider Mickaël Bourgain left the race to prepare for the track competition, Kiryienka was helping the GB team and keeping the break’s lead from going out too far but with twelve riders all rolling through, it was always going to be a big test for the workers in the peloton to control the break’s lead. Especially as the German team were not yet willing to share the work load and why would they even with their sprinter Greipel.

But, after a think, the German team, the one many expected to help the GB team control the race, sent Time Trial Champion Tony Martin to help out along with Bert Grabsch and the others in the German team.

Huge crowds everyone to watch a bike race — who’d have thought it! Photo: Rob Lampard - Velostars

Then came a surprise move from Michael Rogers (Australia), a rider who spent many a kilometre on the front of the peloton in the Tour de France for Team Sky but was now putting them under more pressure. It didn’t last and soon the Belgian team were massing at the front. They had a rider in the break, Jurgen Roelandts but after a few laps of the hilly Box Hill circuit, many of the classics riders in the peloton were looking to break GB’s control of the group.

Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), third in the Tour de France, made a move, and he soon had some quality riders for company in the form of Philippe Gilbert, Greg van Avermaet (Belgium), Martin Elminger (Switzerland) and Robert Gesink (Netherlands).

As in the Tour de France, the British riders didn’t panic and simply upped the tempo and dragged the attackers back before it happened all over again with this time, Nibali and Gilbert counter attacking to join Rast and Grivko who had gone clear.

Joining this little group only fifteen or so seconds off the front was former Endura Racing rider Jack Bauer (New Zealand), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) Lars Boom (Netherlands), Luca Paolini (Italy), many people’s race favourite Sylvain Chavanel (France) and Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic).

Photo: Antony Edmonds  (More here)

The distance, pace and terrain were soon taking their toll and as GB led the peloton after Nibali’s group, the lead of the break was getting ever smaller. It was a drag race between the two leading groups and the peloton and with three laps left of the Box Hill circuit, the GB riders were doing a great job at keeping the chasers close to them but for how long could they keep that pace up.

With 80 kilometres to go, the break was only seconds ahead of the chasers who in turn were well within reach of the peloton. The first to make the junction was the chasers who created a lead group of 22 at the front of the race with GB and its four riders, doing a sterling job of staying in touch. The race was now entering a crucial period and Italy’s Nibabli was soon doing his best to up the pace of the break even more and break the chase of GB.

Photo: Rob Lampard - Velostars

Germany meanwhile had lost the services of Tony Martin who retired to rest up for the Time Trial, a luxury that Brad Wiggins was not yet able to take especially when the likes of Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) were jumping away to chase down the break which was less than a minute up the road.

The final climb of Box Hill completed, the race was finely poised with less than a minute covering the front group to the peloton and the chasers in between. It was a race between the classics riders wanting to break the race up and the sprint teams, GB and Germany with GB having performed miracles to keep the race within their grasp after the world had attacked it left right and centre. With just over 30 miles (50k) to go, a rider who was simply stunning in 2011 and distinctly average in 2012, Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert managed to escape the break and with his teeth gritted, the classics winner was giving it his all and one can only image what would have happened had he had a couple of like minded committed riders.

Behind, the chase was frantic to say the least with Spain well represented in the chase group and the peloton headed up by GB still not out of it but also, running out of time to bring the race under control. Gilbert was caught and at the front were 32 riders including Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Luis Leon Sanchez & Valverde (Spain), Vincenzo Nibali and Philippe Gilbert, although with the organisation not supplying and details on riders in breaks, it was anyone’s guess as to who was where in the race.

GB’s chase took a hit when Chris Froome stepped out of the chase and sat up, but with the Germans helping and Austria too, the battle was in full cry into the final 20 kilometres. The break sitting up for a second or three helped the chasers behind and then a big crash as some riders led by Cancellara in the break went into the barriers.

By this time, the race was into the final 10 miles, and two riders attacked Alexandre Vinokourov and team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran (Columbia) whilst the peloton were now losing the battle to bring back the back.

The two leaders worked full gas into the centre of London and whilst their lead was only a handful of seconds they held it all the way to the finish were Vinokourov attacked in the final kilometre and Uran was unable to catch him. Vinokourov had gone one better than Sydney 2000 and won Gold. Uran was second.


Vinokourov  leads the break though Richmond Park. Photo: Rob Lampard - Velostars

Wiggins and Cavendish racing through Richmond Park on the way back to the finish. Photo: Rob Lampard - Velostars


1  VINOKUROV Alexandr 05:45:57
2  URAN URAN Rigoberto 05:45:57
3  KRISTOFF Alexander 05:46:05
4  PHINNEY Taylor 05:46:05
5  LAGUTIN Sergey 05:46:05
6  O’GRADY Stuart 05:46:05
7  ROELANDTS Jurgen 05:46:05
8  RAST Gregory 05:46:05
9  PAOLINI Luca 05:46:05
10  BAUER Jack 05:46:05
11  BOOM Lars 05:46:05
12  FUGLSANG Jakob 05:46:05
13  COSTA Rui Alberto Faria 05:46:05
14  SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon 05:46:05
15  KREUZIGER Roman 05:46:05
16  HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis 05:46:05
17  GRIVKO Andriy 05:46:05
18  VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro 05:46:05
19  GILBERT Philippe 05:46:05
20  CHAVANEL Sylvain 05:46:05
21  BRAJKOVIC Janez 05:46:05
22  BEPPU Fumiyuki 05:46:05
23  GESINK Robert 05:46:05
24  KOLOBNEV Alexandr 05:46:05
25  NORDHAUG Lars Petter 05:46:05
26  CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS Jonathan 05:46:13
27  GREIPEL Andre 05:46:37
28  BOONEN Tom 05:46:37
29  CAVENDISH Mark 05:46:37
30  DEMARE Arnaud 05:46:37
31  VENTOSO ALBERDI Francisco Jose 05:46:37
32  FISCHER Murilo Antonio 05:46:37
33  FARRAR Tyler 05:46:37
34  SAGAN Peter 05:46:37
35  AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA Andrey 05:46:37
36  EISEL Bernhard 05:46:37
37  WONG Kam-Po 05:46:37
38  VIVIANI Elia 05:46:37
39  ZAMARRON RANGEL Hector Hugo 05:46:37
40  IMPEY Daryl 05:46:37
41  BRESCHEL Matti 05:46:37

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