Alexandre Vinokourov announces his retirement

Alexandre Vinokourov has announced his retirement from professional cycling after breaking his femur in a crash on stage nine of the Tour de France.

Speaking on French television from his home in Monaco on Sunday morning, Vinokourov said he will continue to ride his bike, but hopes to have a management role at the Astana team.

“As far as competing goes, I think I will leave it there. I don’t think I’ll get back on my bike as a professional. I’m going to call it a day now,” he said.

“I will continue to ride my bike, but just to keep fit. I hope to find a new role at the Astana team.”

Vinokourov turned professional in 1997 and developed into one of the most aggressive riders in the peloton. He was widely admired until he tested positive for blood doping in the 2007 Tour de France. He made a comeback last spring and immediately won Liege-Bastogne-Liege. However he was booed by the crowd as he crossed the finish line.

This year’s Tour de France was expected to Vinokourov’s last but he had also hinted that he was considering racing in 2012 to target the London Olympic Games. However, his plans ended when he crashed on a descent during the Tour's stage nine to Pas de Peyrol. He went off the road, fracturing the top of his femur. He was carried back up to the road by his teammates but was unable to ride on. He was immediately flown to Paris for an operation and is currently on crutches.

“It’s going okay. I’m starting to walk on crutches, though it’s not easy,” he said.

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