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All smiles for Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
Kazakh leader wants to wear yellow jersey before ending his career
Alexander Vinokourov has said that one of his ultimate goals before putting an end to his career is to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France. Having already led the general classification of both Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, the Astana captain wants to have a last shot at the Tour, even if he knows he won't be able to hold on to the lead until Paris.
"I had a pink jersey and a golden one already in my career, so I still want a yellow one," said the 38-year-old at his team presentation in Monaco on Friday, where he also said that the 2011 season might be his very last as a pro rider.
Revealing that he will this year skip the Italian Grand Tour in order to concentrate on July, "Vino" elaborated on his tactics when asked whether he was looking at the first days in Brittany to take the jersey, bearing in mind that they offer profiles similar to the Classics Vinokourov also holds dear.
"I haven't looked at the parcours in detail yet, but I know that without the time bonuses it's getting more difficult every year (to take the overall lead - ed.)," he said.
"This year, it will be even more special as there is no prologue. But there will be some small hills... We are already training for the team time trial. It will be hard to win looking at the competition, but I think a top five result is feasible. From there, we'll see. After the Tour and depending on the outcome, I will decide whether I continue my career or not."
The Kazakh, who also targets Paris-Nice and the Ardennes Classics to add yet another victory to his palmarès, is famous for his attacking riding style and seemingly endless capacity to suffer when a victory is in sight. But he also knows he is coming of age.
"I don't want to commit to anything now," he said when Cyclingnews asked him if 2011 was really going to be his last season. "I still have results, I'm still very motivated. I could probably still race another three or four years just for the money, but that's not what I'm about. I want to win races. And I can't see myself still on the road at 40."