Klöden sticks with his captain

Andreas Klöden stuck by his injured Astana team captain Alexandre Vinokourov on Sunday's final climb...

Andreas Klöden stuck by his injured Astana team captain Alexandre Vinokourov on Sunday's final climb to Tignes, despite having the strength to ride with the favourites group of Christophe Moreau, Cadel Evans and Alejandro Valverde. However, for Klöden, who has found himself in a similar position before with former team-mate Jan Ullrich in previous Tours de France, it was the logical tactic to adopt.

"When we didn't have any helpers left, Vino asked me to take over the lead work," he wrote on his website, andreas-kloeden.com. "I rode a regular rhythm and in the distance could see that the riders ahead of us weren't working well together. We slowly got closer to them and had almost joined them, when Vino started having problems.

"Sure, I could have gone on alone, but we quickly agreed that I would wait for Vino and that together we would try to keep the time difference as small as possible, which worked out."

The German now sits in 12th overall, 3'46" behind race leader Michael Rasmussen while Vino is down in 22nd, 5'23" back. "I can understand the fans' complaints," continued Klöden, "but cycling is a team sport. If one of us stands on the podium at the end of this Tour, then everyone on the team will have contributed."

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