Vinokourov blasts to time trial win at Giro del Trentino.

Ladies man, Vinokourov.

Giro del Vino.

Alexander Vinokourov is back in the winner circle again. He’s unrepentant, he’s unapologetic and yes, he’s unbelievably fast. No doubt the UCI will have an even tighter focus on Vino that famed cycling photographer Graham Watson.

In the short 12.5 kilometer time trial that opened the Giro del Trentino, Vino scorched the scenic course around Italy’s Garda. He smacked the clock to a stop at 15:07 and second place finisher Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) was a full 16 seconds back wondering what juice Vino was on. Pomegranate, cranberry, maybe an Arnold Palmer with special additives.

Cobra man, errant boyfriend and absentee father Riccardo Ricco (Ceramica Flaminia) took eighth place, 30 seconds off Vino’s terminal velocity. Last year’s winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas) limped in, yes, we’re going with limped, at 13th bad luck place. Ivan, you out of Liquigas, man?

Vinokourov slipped on the first leaders jersey at the Giro del Trentino but said that keeping it isn’t his top goal. That would be avoiding another positive doping test result, we’re guessing.

“On Sunday I’ll be in Liège[-Bastogne-Liège] with strong ambitions, it’s better to measure out my efforts. Here in Trentino I face a lot of competitors strongly wishing to get the overall,” he said.

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  • joepappillon

    Why you gotta hate on Vino like that, Matt? Just because he doesn't want to apologize doesn't mean he's still doping. It just means he's impenitent.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Ahh jeez, Joe, can't a man grind a few axes once in a while? It's my damn blog :) I know you're a Vino man but personally I don't like his categorical refusal to offer even a lame, false apology. I also though the way he handled Bruyneel and the power struggle when he came back to Astana was pretty lacking in class. But that's just me.

  • http://blogger5000.wordpress.com Tyler

    Alright Vino! The mans got that fire in his belly. Can you share a link to the Watson photo you refered to?

    Looking forward to your Tour de Cali. Posts.

  • The Dude

    Lacking class for taking the team that was created for him by him and financially supported by his fellow country men? Nagh, he took back what was his and rightfully so. Joe-Han and company were only there due to Vino being on sabbatical, most of us knew the house party was over the moment Vino's ban expired.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com walshworld

      Agreed that it was his team and his team to take back. He just handled the whole thing in a crass way. Thanks for dropping me a line. Matt

  • joepappillon

    Hi Matt! Of course you can grind your ax on Vino's back whenever you want! 😉 It IS your blog, after all! I have to say, though, I'm DELIGHTED with his beautiful victory in L-B-L today. If he tests positive from it, he should be shot, but … I'm hoping that someone learned their lesson 😉

    Speaking of which, here is an interesting post that someone made to cyclingnews.com forum ( http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showpost.php?p=19370… ) on the topic of Vino and apologizing…

    "I thoroughly enjoy Vino's style as a rider, and from a personal perspective I'm delighted to see him setting races alight again.

    He obviously had talent to start with, but I must say that I am surprised he has come back to this level. I thought his attitude would be less effective this time around.

    Either he didn't need to use boosters to win at the time (which I don't believe) or maybe we are starting to see cleaner races after all.

    Maybe, assuming dope use was as common as it seems, the results are very similarish because in the end, those with talent in a level playing field tend to come up trumps anyway. In a level playing field.

    So looking at results and bemoan the same names on top, maybe it is less of an indicator of the amount of performance enhancers used, but the actual outcome of a "level" head to head after all.

    I'd argue that because we see the same names post doping scandals, maybe it doesn't suggest those riders are still doing the same. This might equally be an indicator that the bio-passport is actually having some tempering effect after all, as caught and more careful riders are still able to trump all.

    By extension, it might well be proof of how wide jacked up dope use had spread, then. A level playing field then, a different but fairly level playing field now. That could also add up to the same names.

    But that means that to accept Vino as a legitimate winner today, you need to get your head round to that he was an equally fair illegitimate winner then. That they were all at it then, he just got caught.

    In a way I like him more for looking at his colleagues and deciding he ain't gonna apologise, only to make those that are equally at it, but are still quiet until they also get caught, look better by extension. By creating the illusion he is the dirty exception. He had the luxury of not having to go through that charade, of re-invention.

    For most it is the only option to stay in the game and secure an income in cycling, so I can't blame hem for taking the other route, real or faked.

    But if Vino's lab results from today come back within the officially accepted levels of micro-cheating, I'm convinced he today beat the others on a failry level playing field again. One that is cleaner than what we have seen for most of the last decade.

    And to be frank, I'm delighted to see him in action again, and having lost none of the spark. I enjoyed seeing him win today, and the way he did it. Until someone comes back with proof he went outside the set parameters, I'd be bonkers not to enjoy the spectacle on display today. Cleaner, and still damn exciting.

    Glad to have him back on top. "