Vinokourov wins Tour's Stage 13; Schleck still in yellow

SPORTS NETORK

, Last Updated: 3:50 PM ET

Revel, France Alexandre Vinokourov emphatically took Stage 13 of the Tour de France on Saturday, while Andy Schleck maintained a 31- second overall lead over his closest rival, Alberto Contador.

Vinokourov, who returned to cycling's most prestigious event for the first time since being banned for blood doping back in 2007, pulled away from the pack late in the race and finished the 196-kilometer trek from Rodez to Revel in four hours, 26 minutes and 26 seconds.

"Vino is coming back. This is the new Vino," an emotional Vinokourov said. "This is the new Vino and I think everybody understands that now. I must win my popularity in France and I think this victory in the Tour helps."

Contador, Vinokourov's Astana teammate, and Schleck were both in the large group of 71 riders that finished 13 seconds behind.

It's essentially a two-man race for the overall lead, as Samuel Sanchez is the next closest rider at two minutes, 45 seconds behind the leader.

The battle for the green jersey is also a tight contest, and Mark Cavendish out-sprinted the pack for second place on Saturday to help his quest. Alessandro Petacchi, who currently leads in sprint points with 187, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Jose Joaquin Rojas rounded out the top five of the stage.

Petacchi's closest competitors for the green jersey are Thor Hushovd and Cavenish, who have 185 and 162 points, respectively.

Stage 14's 184.5-kilometer course from Revel to Ax 3 Domaines features a trek up the Port de Pailheres, a steep incline that will challenge the riders roughly 30 kilometers from the finish.

"Today was a nice stage for my team because we didn't have to work too much," Schleck said. "[Sunday] will be hard, of course, but I've trained for it and I'm looking forward to riding up these mountains."

The 2010 Tour de France will conclude July 25 with the traditional ride along the Champs Elysees in Paris.


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