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Vino's victory: Strength or strategy?

Asked whether his remarkable feat in Stage 17 of the Vuelta was due to strength or strategy, new race leader Alexandre Vinokourov said it was a bit of both: "Thanks to the strategy of the whole team, we have obtained this result, but when I saw that Valverde was approaching [on the descent into Granada], I decided to attack alone and there it was a question of force."

Explained Vinokourov, "The day before [Stage 16] was different because it was after a rest day and Valverde was very strong. But I knew there still remained two days [in the mountains] and he [Valverde] could be without his team. [At those moments], I could make up some differences.

"I had good legs and I knew that like that I could make these difference in the last 15 kilometres. Now, I have to try to keep the maillot. I hope that the team continues well, because it will not be easy," he said.

On the possibility of attacking in today's stage that finishes atop the Sierra de la Pandera after 153 kilometres, the Kazakhstani was cautious about revealing his hand, but seemed to believe the final time trial to be of greater significance. "It will also be a very hard stage and [there] still remains the last time trial, which will be very important to win the Vuelta. It will be necessary to study it," he said.

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