An interview with Alexandre Vinokourov

No gifts at the Tour: Mission accomplished

Alexandre Vinokourov showed his guts and class by attacking a long way from home to win the 11th stage of the Tour de France. For the Kazakh champion who lost five minutes the day before, it was the best way to bounce back as Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan reports from Briançon.

When the winner of the eleventh stage of the Tour de France was asked if his victory today was a 'gift' from Lance Armstrong, the softly spoken Kazakh was a little taken aback.

"Well... I think you have to ask that to Lance," muttered Vino, who told French sports newspaper L'Equipe a few days ago that the only other team he'd consider riding for in 2006 would be Discovery Channel.

Armstrong's response: "Our main concern was to keep the team together. He was six and a half minutes behind on GC and we can't chase down everybody who's at 5, 6, 7 minutes - we have to prioritise. And he was not on our list of priorities, so we let him out there and controlled the pace. If his objective was to win a stage - mission accomplished. If his objective was to blow up the Discovery team - mission not accomplished."

Click here for the full interview

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