Vinokourov predicts Evans as his biggest rival in Tour de Romandie

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) is about to start his last ever Ardennes campaign

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) is about to start his last ever Ardennes campaign (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Alexander Vinokourov and his Astana team are in a good position to aim for the overall victory at this year's Tour de Romandie, and the Kazakh leader has made no secret about his objectives in the Swiss stage race. "Other teams may be here to win stages, but we're here for the overall and we worked hard towards that goal today," Vinokourov told Velochrono on Thursday evening.

At the moment, Katusha rider Pavel Brutt still retains the leader's jersey, but the Russian saw his leading margin diminish on stage two. "It's thanks to the work of our team that the yellow jersey lost some time today," he added, praising his teammate Roman Kreuziger, who put on the pressure on the last climb. "Roman did a fantastic job."

The Astana leader currently sits in fourth position on GC, at the same time as Cadel Evans (BMC), 42 seconds behind Brutt. Damiano Cunego (Lampre), who won Thursday's stage, is second, but Vinkourov rated Evans as his biggest threat in his quest for overall success. "I see him as my main rival for the overall. There's still tomorrow's stage [stage three on Friday], but I don't think Pavel Brutt will keep his jersey until the end of the race."

Another decisive day will be Saturday's time trial over 20.1 kilometres. Vinokourov is confident. "When you have the legs, you always feel good!"

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