Vino, sweet formerly red Vinokourov, continues to age like a fine Kazakh dessert wine.
In the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Vinokourov finished just two seconds behind winner Lars Boom (Rabobank) and amazingly beat an on-form Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) by three ticks.
It’s also a small but nice psychological edge on the other GC contenders like Cadel Evans (BMC), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and defending champion Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack).
The legs are turning over very well, I had some good sensations,” Vinokourov said. “It’s very good.” Drink enough wine and the sensations are always good, my Kazakh friend.
Still Vino motors on at age 37, winning a Tour de France stage last year and a terrific (or exasperating, depending on point of view) win in Leige-Bastogne-Leige. This season he managed a 3rd place in the Tour of Romandie and put the pedal to the metal today in the Dauphiné prologue.
The Tour de France begins in less than a month and Vino will make his final assault on La Grande Boucle. Like a vintage Rkatsiteli Kazakhstan or an age dry Aligote wine, he still rides with a certain undeniable style.
Kazakhstan’s master wine maker Leonid Jahangirov would appreciate that.