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Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) (Image credit: Unipublic)

After attacking with 1 km to go in stage 7, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) missed out on victory by 100 metres when Alejandro Valverde passed him to win the stage to the top of the Alto de El Morredero. The Kazakhstani eventually finished fifth. "Simply, I could not have won, but I am satisfied because every day I go better," said Vino. "I had very good sensations during the whole stage, am improving and believe that on Sunday I will be even better. Valverde has not been a surprise, I know him well, but we will see what happens on Sunday. Today he was very motivated because I believe that also wanted the leadership."

Andrey Kashechkin finished eighth and is now in fifth overall at 23 seconds. He commented on the final climb: "It is a strange climb, with many changes of pace and rests, very good for explosive riders like Bettini or also Valverde. If it had been a regular climb, it would have been a very different result.

"Valverde has demonstrated what I said two days ago, that he is the top favourite together with Sastre. For me nothing changes with this result, I will continue fighting for the general classification."

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