Cycling: Vinokourov's surprise surge leaves sprinters trailing in his wake

Vinokourov's objective was twofold - to take a second stage win in the 2005 Tour and to gain a time bonus, moving up one place overall, from sixth to fifth. At 1,500 metres from the line, he made his audacious charge, counter-attacking behind the Australian Bradley McGee and escaping the clutches of a peloton moving at nearly 60kph (37mph).

Usually attempts like this to foil the fast men fail miserably, but Vinokourov's coup de panache, as he described it afterwards, had thrown the bunch into confusion, and the T-Mobile professional was able to raise his arms in victory as he crossed the line.

"I gave it everything I could; I knew I could get past McGee and shouldn't look back," Vinokourov said. He added that he had been motivated by thoughts of his friend Andrei Kivilev, the rider killed in 2003 in a race accident and who lived close to St Etienne, the city which hosted Saturday's final time trial.

The ferociously hilly 55.5-kilometre race against the clock was won, rather more predictably, by Lance Armstrong, although it did see major shake-ups in the fight to stand beside him in Paris.

Armstrong's most persistent rival, Jan Ullrich, moved up to third place behind the American after the Dane Mickael Rasmussen, the German's only obstacle to a seventh final podium in Paris, suffered just about all possible bad luckwithout actually abandoning.

After crashing in the fourth kilometre, Rasmussen insisted on having a back-wheel change, then changed his entire bike twice, and as a final touch, skidded into a ditch.

In 77th position at the finish line on the stage, Rasmussen slid to seventh overall and had to be satisfied with winning the King of the Mountains competition.

Armstrong himself had a narrow squeak, when, Tour patron to the last, he attempted to chase down the Frenchman Sandy Casar yesterday.

Casar's attack broke with Tour protocol - traditionally the race leader's team leads on to the Champs Elysées - but Armstrong's pursuit could have had more serious consequences.

His American team-mate, George Hincapie, skidded out of control in the rain and the Texan was forced to put one foot to the ground to avoid crashing.

Armstrong had a face like thunder, but just like the weather, his mood brightened considerably as the finish approached. After donning his last yellow jersey he ended his role as race leader by describing the Italian Ivan Basso, second, and Ullrich in third as "the dream final podium." "Perhaps one of you will be in my place next year," he concluded. "All I know is that I'm out of here."

Shortly afterwards, he was.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for 'Cycling Weekly'

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

Music Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

C# Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments