Golden Vinokourov rides to victory; Zabel caps off Vuelta with stage win
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has become the first Kazakhstani rider to win a grand tour, finishing 79th in the final stage in Madrid after a triumphal golden parade into the Spanish capital. The stage finished in a bunch sprint as expected, with a resurgent Erik Zabel (Milram) winning his second Vuelta stage ahead of Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Aurélien Clerc (Phonak). There were no real chances in the general classification.
The final stage was mostly a procession into Madrid before the final six finishing circuits, although there was an attempt to get away after 47 km by Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step-Innergetic) and Kjell Carlström (Liquigas). The trio managed a minute's lead, but was caught by the bunch after 55 km. On the finishing circuits, a more dangerous move went with Frédéric Bessy and Luis Perez (Cofidis), Chris Horner (Davitamon), Ángel Vallejo and Raúl García De Mateo (Relax-Gam), Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) and Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues). The peloton allowed them as much as 22 seconds, but brought things together for a bunch sprint with one lap (6 km) to go. In the end, Milram gave Zabel a great lead out, and the experienced German hit the front with 150m to go and was never headed.