LONDON – Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan surprisingly took the gold medal in the men's cycling road race at the London Olympics on Saturday, winning a two-man sprint to the finish after favorite Mark Cavendish had dropped out of contention.
Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France, has said he will retire from cycling after the London Games.
He's certainly going out in style, breaking away from the leading group about 10 kilometers from the finish together with Rigoberto Uran of Colombia. Vinokourov then accelerated going down The Mall outside Buckingham Palace with 300 meters to go to leave Uran in his wake.
Uran took silver, with Alexander Kristoff of Norway winning a mass sprint to claim bronze.
Vinokourov was third at the 2003 Tour but had his reputation tainted after twice testing positive for banned blood transfusions during the 2007 three-week race.
It was a disappointing day for world champion Cavendish and the rest of the British team, which came into the Olympics full of confidence after Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour last weekend.
The home team tried to control the 250-kilometer race from the start but could not prevent the final breakaway to succeed as Cavendish finished in the main bunch.