Vinokourov wins Olympic gold medal

Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) won the gold medal in the men's road race at the 2012 London Olympic Games, outsprinting his breakaway companion Rigoberto Uran of Colombia. The two had jumped from a large break group near the end of the race, and tore down The Mall alone to the finish line. Behind them, Norwegian Alexander Kristoff won the sprint of the chase group for the bronze medal.

Vinokourov, who is retiring this season, was overjoyed at the finish. It was his second medal, after winning silver in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The wily veteran timed his moves perfectly, first upon jumping from the escape group and then taking advantage of a moment of inattention by Uran to go for the gold.

"I didn't win any stages of the Tour, but today the dream has come true," Vinokourov said at the finish.

"It is nice to finish off my career with a gold medal. I will still race in the time trial on Wednesday, but I will just spin. I have what I have wanted. I have the gold medal and I can envision my retirement."

"After so many crashes, returning to cycling was difficult for me. I still have a metal plate in my femur, so it was not easy. I was still hoping for a good result. My family and my children were behind me the entire time."

It was a major blow for the sprinters, and especially for the British team, which worked hard but fruitlessly to set things up for world champion Mark Cavendish. But perhaps the biggest loser of the day was Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, who held a promising position in the lead group until a crash into the barriers with just over 10km to go dropped him.  He finished the race, but appeared to have been injured, and his participation in Wednesday's time trial was put into question.

A large early break

As expected, the early break formed soon after the London start. Strong in numbers and in talent, Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium) and Marco Pinotti (Italy) were joined by Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan), Denis Menchov (Russia), Stuart O’Grady (Australia), Tim Duggan (USA), Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain), Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia), Michael Schar (Switzerland), Alexander Kristoff (Norway) and Sungbaek Park (Korea).

Great Britain’s appearance on the front soon followed, a mirror of their approach that was successfully applied last year in Copenhagen’s Worlds. With the gap stretching to 4:30 David Millar, Britain’s road captain, dropped down the line of the peloton, searching for expected allies in Germany. A parley with Greipel led to a brief cooperation with Tony Martin’s legs sacrificed as he joined the home nation on the front.

But as the field reached the first climb up Box Hill the gap continued to grow, reaching 5:27 at the crest.

A probing attack from Michael Rogers did little to crack the opposition but its mere intent provided Britain with enough evidence that Australia would not provide unilateral allegiance in a desire for a sprint finish.

And once Rogers was absorbed the Belgian team played their hand, massing on the front of the peloton at the start of the fourth climb of Box Hill. Nervous looks and accelerations took over but it was Vincenzo Nibali who grabbed the initiative, launching a vicious attack. Robert Gesink, Martin Elmiger, Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet latched on, as Britain was forced to react with Stannard and Froome setting a pace for Cavendish.

At the crest of the climb the Nibali group had over 15 seconds with a second batch of riders making contact on the descent.

On fifth ascent Nibali and Gilbert attacked again. This time they were joined by a group of immense firepower with Lars Boom, Jakob Fuglsang, Sylvain Chavanel, Gregory Rast (Switzerland), Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Niki Terpstra (Netherlands), Luca Paolini (Italy), Jack Bauer (New Zealand) and Taylor Phinney.

The gap from the bunch to the lead group had been reduced to 3:50 at the top of the fifth ascent of Box Hill, but Nibali’s group had established a 30 second advantage.

With 100 kilometres to go Cavendish’s chances hung by a knife edge.

There was a brief discussion, Wiggins and Millar in conversation, before the expected reaction came. And by the sixth climb of Box Hill the Nibali group reached the top of the climb 1:15 down on the leaders, while the peloton crosses the summit 45 seconds later.

The gap continued to drop with Wiggins and Froome dictating the majority of the pace. The gap to the leaders was soon under a minute with just 20 seconds the advantage for Nibali and his accomplices. Gilbert, sensing that the move was losing its spark, and in a bid to cement a Belgian foot hold, attacked. However he was soon brought back.

Britain continued with their efforts, attempting to grind the opposition into the ground and with 170km raced Cavendish still has all four teammates on the front. The race has swung back in the sprinter’s favour.

However when the two breaks merged new life was breathed into tired legs, the Italian team, along with Timmy Duggan, the most animated aggressors. A 45 second buffer was established with the British team creating a brief lull in their chase.

With three men in the lead break Belgium’s strong position was clear and Gilbert set the pace on the foot of Box Hill for the penultimate climb. Fuglsang, who may not ride for his trade team again this year, showed his strength as he took over from Gilbert but by the top of the climb the British team has them at less than one minute.

Gilbert once again attacked, this time with more purpose. Tom Boonen meanwhile had moved closer to the head of the field, watching as Britain expended energy in the chase. Gilbert pushed his advantage to almost a minute on the final loop over Box Hill with the remnants of the break starting to splinter over the road.

The final climb of Box Hill was the last chance saloon for a number of riders, and continuous attacks were launched but the British kept their form and tempo, unrelenting in the pressure as they cushioned Cavendish towards the top. However with fresh legs having made it to the lead group on the climb the sprinters’ faced a new challenge.

Fabian Cancellara, Luis Leon Sanchez, and Alejandro Valverde were among the fresher riders and the Spanish, with three riders, brought the gap to 57 seconds, having already reeled in Gilbert.

Germany and Australia sensed the danger, moving onto the tail end of the British train.

A drag race ensued with the British team still ploughing ahead of the bunch as break sensed that Cavendish’s men had lost their grip.

Wiggins moved to the front, surely earlier than he would have liked, as he drove to peloton in pursuit. Froome soon cracked as Cancellara huffed and puffed, moving his pawns, Rast and Schar, to the head of affairs. With 25 kilometres the gap had inched out to 1:05.

Stannard was almost single-handed in the chase, while the break continued to work with greater purpose, urgency and efficiency.

Wiggins again took charge and the response was immediate with 15 seconds shaved off the gap, but with 20 km it was still 51 seconds.

Shockingly, Cancellara misjudged a corner and crashed into the barriers. The lead group was momentarily stunned but again quickly picked up the speed.  The Swiss start was soon back in the field, and then back at the race doctor's car, looking as if he may have re-injured the right collarbone which he shattered earlier this year.

Success from the lead group

Soon enough the lead group realized it would most likely get through to the end, and with 10 km to go, the unanimity in the group was over as each rider tried to figure out how to grab the gold. Vinokourov and Uran were the first to jump, building up a small lead.

No one in any of the groups was willing to work together any more, virtually handing the two top medals to Vinokourov and Uran – who were of course only reluctantly cooperating with one another.

Vinokourov took off with about 200 metres to go, catching Uran off guard. He rode joyfully over the finish line, followed by the Colombian. The first chase group came in only eight seconds later, with Kristoff taking bronze. Andre Griepel led the defeated peloton to the finish about 30 seconds later. Cancellara came in some five minutes down.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexandr Vinokurov (Kazakhstan)5:45:57
2Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Alexander Kristoff (Norway)0:00:08
4Taylor Phinney (United States of America)Row 3 - Cell 2
5Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan)Row 4 - Cell 2
6Stuart O'grady (Australia)Row 5 - Cell 2
7Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)Row 6 - Cell 2
8Gregory Rast (Switzerland)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Luca Paolini (Italy)Row 8 - Cell 2
10Jack Bauer (New Zealand)Row 9 - Cell 2
11Lars Boom (Netherlands)Row 10 - Cell 2
12Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Portugal)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)Row 14 - Cell 2
16Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Colombia)Row 15 - Cell 2
17Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)Row 16 - Cell 2
18Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)Row 18 - Cell 2
20Sylvain Chavanel (France)Row 19 - Cell 2
21Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)Row 20 - Cell 2
22Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan)Row 21 - Cell 2
23Robert Gesink (Netherlands)Row 22 - Cell 2
24Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)Row 23 - Cell 2
25Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)Row 24 - Cell 2
26Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)0:00:16
27Andre Greipel (Germany)0:00:40
28Tom Boonen (Belgium)Row 27 - Cell 2
29Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Arnaud Demare (France)Row 29 - Cell 2
31Francisco Jose Ventoso Alberdi (Spain)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil)Row 31 - Cell 2
33Tyler Farrar (United States of America)Row 32 - Cell 2
34Peter Sagan (Slovakia)Row 33 - Cell 2
35Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Costa Rica)Row 34 - Cell 2
36Bernhard Eisel (Austria)Row 35 - Cell 2
37Kam-Po Wong (Hong Kong, China)Row 36 - Cell 2
38Elia Viviani (Italy)Row 37 - Cell 2
39Hector Hugo Zamarron Rangel (Mexico)Row 38 - Cell 2
40Daryl Impey (South Africa)Row 39 - Cell 2
41Matti Breschel (Denmark)Row 40 - Cell 2
42Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)Row 41 - Cell 2
43Assan Bazayev (Kazakhstan)Row 42 - Cell 2
44Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spain)Row 43 - Cell 2
45Miguel Ubeto Aponte (Venezuela)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Borut Bozic (Slovenia)Row 45 - Cell 2
47Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)Row 46 - Cell 2
48Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)Row 47 - Cell 2
49Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Portugal)Row 48 - Cell 2
50Rene Mandri (Estonia)Row 49 - Cell 2
51Jackson Rodriguez (Venezuela)Row 50 - Cell 2
52Vladimir Isaychev (Russian Federation)Row 51 - Cell 2
53Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus)Row 52 - Cell 2
54Ivan Stevic (Serbia)Row 53 - Cell 2
55David Mccann (Ireland)Row 54 - Cell 2
56Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)Row 55 - Cell 2
57Martin Elmiger (Switzerland)Row 56 - Cell 2
58Nicki Sorensen (Denmark)Row 57 - Cell 2
59Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)Row 58 - Cell 2
60Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)Row 59 - Cell 2
61Danail Andonov Petrov (Bulgaria)Row 60 - Cell 2
62Adil Jelloul (Morocco)Row 61 - Cell 2
63Ryder Hesjedal (Canada)Row 62 - Cell 2
64Jussi Veikkanen (Finland)Row 63 - Cell 2
65Arnold Alcolea (Cuba)Row 64 - Cell 2
66Dmytro Krivtsov (Ukraine)Row 65 - Cell 2
67Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)Row 66 - Cell 2
68Nelson Filipe S. Simoes Oliveira (Portugal)Row 67 - Cell 2
69Tomas Aurelio Gil Martinez (Venezuela)Row 68 - Cell 2
70Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark)Row 69 - Cell 2
71Gonzalo Andres Garrido Zenteno (Chile)Row 70 - Cell 2
72Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)Row 71 - Cell 2
73Jan Barta (Czech Republic)Row 72 - Cell 2
74Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)Row 73 - Cell 2
75Gustav Larsson (Sweden)Row 74 - Cell 2
76Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway)Row 75 - Cell 2
77Branislau Samoilau (Belarus)Row 76 - Cell 2
78Grega Bole (Slovenia)Row 77 - Cell 2
79Cadel Evans (Australia)Row 78 - Cell 2
80Daniel Schorn (Austria)Row 79 - Cell 2
81Niki Terpstra (Netherlands)Row 80 - Cell 2
82Simon Gerrans (Australia)Row 81 - Cell 2
83Matthew Harley Goss (Australia)Row 82 - Cell 2
84Tony Gallopin (France)Row 83 - Cell 2
85Michael Schar (Switzerland)Row 84 - Cell 2
86Timothy Duggan (United States of America)Row 85 - Cell 2
87Nicolas Roche (Ireland)Row 86 - Cell 2
88Daniel Martin (Ireland)Row 87 - Cell 2
89Michael Rogers (Australia)Row 88 - Cell 2
90Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)Row 89 - Cell 2
91Christopher Horner (United States of America)0:00:49
92Ian Stannard (Great Britain)0:00:50
93Bert Grabsch (Germany)Row 92 - Cell 2
94Michael Albasini (Switzerland)Row 93 - Cell 2
95Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands)Row 94 - Cell 2
96Sacha Modolo (Italy)0:00:54
97Stijn Vandenbergh (Belgium)Row 96 - Cell 2
98Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)0:00:56
99Marcel Sieberg (Germany)0:01:11
100Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)0:01:17
101Tejay Van Garderen (United States of America)0:01:34
102John Degenkolb (Germany)0:02:52
103Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)0:05:43
104Marco Pinotti (Italy)0:08:07
105David Millar (Great Britain)0:09:19
106Denis Menchov (Russian Federation)Row 105 - Cell 2
107Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)Row 106 - Cell 2
108Christopher Froome (Great Britain)Row 107 - Cell 2
109Laurent Didier (Luxembourg)Row 108 - Cell 2
110Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)Row 109 - Cell 2
111Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Argentina)Row 110 - Cell 2
112Maciej Bodnar (Poland)Row 111 - Cell 2
113Mehdi Sohrabi (Islamic Republic of Iran)Row 112 - Cell 2
114Gabor Kasa (Serbia)Row 113 - Cell 2
115Ahmet Akdilek (Turkey)Row 114 - Cell 2
116Byron Patricio Guama De La Cruz (Ecuador)Row 115 - Cell 2
117Gregolry Panizo (Brazil)Row 116 - Cell 2
118Kemal Kucukbay (Turkey)Row 117 - Cell 2
119Magno Prado Nazaret (Brazil)Row 118 - Cell 2
120Oleg Berdos (Republic of Moldova)Row 119 - Cell 2
121Andrei Nechita (Romania)Row 120 - Cell 2
122Michal Golas (Poland)Row 121 - Cell 2
123Amir Mustafa Rusli (Malaysia)Row 122 - Cell 2
124Krisztian Lovassy (Hungary)Row 123 - Cell 2
125Greg Henderson (New Zealand)Row 124 - Cell 2
126Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)Row 125 - Cell 2
127Soufiane Haddi (Morocco)Row 126 - Cell 2
DNFAlireza Haghi (Islamic Republic of Iran)Row 127 - Cell 2
DNFAzzedine Lagab (Algeria)Row 128 - Cell 2
DNFSpas Gyurov (Bulgaria)Row 129 - Cell 2
DNFMuhamad Adiq Husainie Othman (Malaysia)Row 130 - Cell 2
DNFMirac Kal (Turkey)Row 131 - Cell 2
DNFMuradjan Halmuratov (Uzbekistan)Row 132 - Cell 2
DNFTony Martin (Germany)Row 133 - Cell 2
DNFGiorgi Nadiradze (Georgia)Row 134 - Cell 2
DNFSungbaek Park (Republic of Korea)Row 135 - Cell 2
DNFManuel Rodas Ochoa (Guatemala)Row 136 - Cell 2
DNFDan Craven (Namibia)Row 137 - Cell 2
DNFMouhcine Lahsaini (Morocco)Row 138 - Cell 2
DNFOmar Hasannen (Syrian Arab Republic)Row 139 - Cell 2
DNFJorge Adelbio Soto Perera (Uruguay)Row 140 - Cell 2
DNFFabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Colombia)Row 141 - Cell 2
DNFMickael Bourgain (France)Row 142 - Cell 2
DNFAmir Zargari (Islamic Republic of Iran)Row 143 - Cell 2


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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.

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