Today in Ans, Alexandre Vinokourov finally took a much-needed victory for the T-Mobile Team, winning the 91st edition of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic in typically aggressive fashion. The 31 year-old rider from Kazakhstan broke away with the 'Jacky Durand' of spring, Team CSC's Jens Voigt, on the Côte de La Vecquee with around 50 kilometres to go, and held off a chase group containing most of the race favourites all the way to the finish.
"I knew that I can win here," said a happy Vinokourov after the finish. "You just need the right conditions, and there were here today. When I saw Voigt jump, I immediately decided to go with him. I know what he's worth and I knew we had a chance. And now you see that it was successful!"
"It's a pity that I got second," said the second-placed Voigt. "But Vino is one of the best riders in the world, so it's not a shame. He deserves it. I had lost a lot of strength in that break, and I paid for it in the sprint. Now, I'm finished - I need to refuel my batteries!"
The pair's advantage hovered around the one minute mark for their entire escape, but were largely aided by a lack of cohesion in the rather oversized select group behind. In third place was Amstel's interminable second, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), around 10 seconds behind, who could at least say he finished on a different step of the podium. Olympic champ Paolo Bettini didn't quite have the legs today, but still managed a credible fourth, while Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans showed good form to finish just behind the Italian in fifth place.
Boogerd paid respect to his rivals, but wasn't satisfied with how the race unfolded. "The two who won are the best. If the other guys won't ride then it's hard to come back. I could have gone with them, but the others would gave reacted and got on my wheel."