Controversial Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov won the 13th stage of the Tour de France today.
Vinokourov, who returned from a two-year ban for blood doping last autumn, attacked on the day’s final climb, the 1.9-kilometre category three ascent of Saint-Ferreol, to win the 196km race from Rodez to Revel.
Britain’s Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) finished second, leading the peloton over the line 13 seconds behind.
Ireland's Nicolas Roche crossed the line in the group with Cavendish for 30th position, 13 seconds behind Vinokourov. He remains 14th in GC.
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese) finished third and Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen was fourth.
Points classification leader Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) was eighth.
Tomorrow’s 184.5km stage from Revel to Ax-3-Domaines could impact on the general classification standings led by Andy Schleck.
The 14th stage features two categorised climbs – the hors categorie (beyond category) 15.5km ascent of Port de Pailheres and the 7.8km category one climb to Ax-3-Domaines.
The overall rankings were unchanged today, with Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) in possession of a 31-second lead over Alberto Contador (Astana), with the remainder of the field over two minutes further behind.
Meanwhile Lance Armstrong’s miserable Tour continued.
The 38-year-old Team RadioShack leader announced in June this month’s race would be his final Tour.
However, his hopes of an eighth title ended prematurely when he fell out of overall contention with an incident-filled eighth stage.
Today, the seven-time champion crashed in the neutralised zone before racing began in Rodez.
He recovered and was swiftly back among the peloton.
But he was dropped ahead of the final climb and finished in 100th place, four minutes 35 seconds behind.