Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Vinokourov claims cycling gold as British favorites struggle

updated 2:33 PM EDT, Sat July 28, 2012
 Vinokourov, centre, Uran, left, and Kristoff, right, on the podium after being presented with their medals
Vinokourov, centre, Uran, left, and Kristoff, right, on the podium after being presented with their medals
  • Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov wins gold
  • Colombian Rigoberto Uran claimed silver, Norway's Alexander Kirstoff bronze
  • World champion Mark Cavendish finishes a disappointing 29th

(CNN) -- Alexandre Vinokourov claimed Kazakhstan's first medal at the London Olympics with gold in Saturday's men's cycling road race.

Much fancied home favorite Mark Cavendish finished a disappointing 29th as the British team struggled to meet pre-race expectations.

Colombia's Rigoberto Uran took the silver, while bronze went to Alexander Kristoff from Norway.

The 38-year-old Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban for blood doping between 2007 and 2009, announced after the race that he may retire from the sport after Wednesday's cycling time trial.

"I will still race in the time trial on Wednesday but I have the gold medal I wanted and after that I will consider retiring," said the Kazakh cyclist.

World champion Cavendish had been strongly tipped to finally claim the Olympic medal that had eluded him at the 2008 Games in Beijing, where he was the only member of Britain's track cycling team to return from the games without a medal.

Despite the British team having control of the peloton throughout the race, they struggled to close the gap on the lead group and Cavendish was nowhere in sight as Vinokourov out sprinted Uran to the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace.

"There was a group of 22 who got away and we couldn't pull them back," said Cavendish.

"I can be proud of how the lads rode. They have got nothing left in the tank.

Cavendish's hopes appeared to have been boosted when rival Swiss sprinter Fabian Cancellara crashed, but the peloton could not close on the leading group.

With just under 10km to the finish line -- and a handy time advantage of 50 seconds -- the leading pack looked to be preparing for a sprint finish, but Uran made a break for it, and surprisingly Vinokourov was the only rider to respond.

As the two riders rounded the final corner, the Kazakh made the most of his rival slowing to look back to check for pursuers and launched a sprint to the line.

It was quickly clear that the Colombian had no answer to the Kazakh's attack and Vinokourov had a big enough lead to ride across the line with his arms aloft.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Mon August 13, 2012
The moment that Team GB's Mo Farah won the 10,000 meters was a wonderful collision of electricity.
updated 11:34 AM EDT, Mon August 13, 2012
His blistering pace and larger-than-life antics made him the king of the track in London, and bolstered his claims to be a "living legend."
updated 5:44 AM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
Disappointment for Nigeria's Muizat Ajoke Odumosu, who came last in the 400m hurdles final, London 2012 Olympics.
The Olympics are generally won and lost long before the opening ceremony cauldron is touched by fire.
updated 3:38 AM EDT, Sun August 12, 2012
Fans of the home side, Team GB, wave Union Jack flags during the Olympic Games
CNN's Richard Quest believes the London Games will be regarded as having brought the Olympics concept home.
updated 12:33 PM EDT, Sat August 11, 2012
Strategist Alastair Campbell says he never imagined London 2012 would be quite the triumph it turned out to be.
updated 4:57 PM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
Award-winning director Danny Boyle celebrates the best of British music in London 2012's Olympic Closing Ceremony.
updated 9:52 AM EST, Thu January 31, 2013
From Usain Bolt's record-setting achievements to an unexpected Ugandan gold, London 2012 has provided a wide array of highlights.
updated 11:05 PM EDT, Sun August 12, 2012
CNN's Amanda Davies recaps the London 2012 Olympics from the opening ceremony on July 27 to the finale on day 16.
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Sun August 12, 2012
Mo Farah and Usain Bolt celebrate their success at the London 2012 Olympic Games by copying each other's
It's been just over two weeks since the Queen parachuted into London's Olympic Stadium, her apricot dress flapping in the breeze.
updated 8:14 AM EDT, Wed August 15, 2012
When the world's top marathon runners bid to win Olympic gold, they would do well to draw inspiration from one of the greatest athletes in the history of track and field.
updated 12:33 PM EDT, Sat August 11, 2012
Team GB supporters with their faces painted in Union Jack designs at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Alastair Campbell always thought London 2012 would be a success, but never imagined it would be quite the triumph it has turned out to be.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
Adrien Niyonshuti is unlikely to win an Olympic medal, and he will do well to even finish his event, but his story is surely one of the most inspirational.
updated 12:05 PM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
The colors of the Olympic Rings at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, August 2012.
Olympic fever has cheered up London and made it a more welcoming place, but will optimism be one of the legacies of the Games?
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
Wojdan Shaherkani's Olympic debut was short, but sweet -- the Saudi judoka said competing at the Games was
London 2012 is the first Olympics to feature women in every national team, with Jacques Rogge hailing a "major boost for gender equality."
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
An impoverished South Korean gymnast has not only struck Olympic gold, but also reaped a $444,000 donation in a veritable rags to riches tale.
updated 8:46 PM EDT, Wed August 8, 2012
Britain's hero Jessica Ennis is set to cash in after winning heptathlon gold, but the poster girl of the 2012 Olympics says fame is not her motivation.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Wed August 8, 2012
China is rallying around fallen hurdler Liu Xiang after he failed to make it past the first-round heat for a second consecutive Olympics.
updated 3:30 PM EDT, Fri August 3, 2012
The first woman to win Olympic gold almost died in a plane crash, but remarkably returned to run again for the U.S. in 1936.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Tue August 7, 2012
Don Paige could not bear to watch the race he knew he could win. The 1980 Moscow Olympics were the death of a dream for many athletes.
updated 10:21 AM EDT, Sat August 4, 2012
Ricardo Blas Jr
While Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt grab the headlines, little-known athletes from around the world keep alive the original spirit of the Olympics.
Athletes spend years eating the right foods ... and then must resist the free fast food in the Olympic village. How do they do it?