Former tour winner Fignon tips Vinokourov for 2007 win

French two-time winner of the Tour de France, Laurent Fignon, has tipped Alexandre Vinokourov or Andreas Klöden to follow in his footsteps and win the event in Paris on July 29.

French two-time winner of the Tour de France, Laurent Fignon, has tipped Alexandre Vinokourov or Andreas Klöden to follow in his footsteps and win the event in Paris on July 29.

Fignon, winner in 1983 and 1984, believes the Kazakh and German, who both ride for the Astana team, stand out from the peloton and have what it takes to win cycling's most coveted prize.

"The two riders who have the best chance of winning are in the same team, Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden," said Fignon.
"Behind those two is another group of riders which include Frank Schleck, Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Levi Leipheimer and why not Christophe Moreau."

When asked whether Astana will favour team leader Vinokourov over Klöden Fignon said: "Either the tactics are clear from the off and it's all for "Vino" with Klöden knowing his place in the plan. Or the choice will be made after the first signs of difficulty in the race or the first time trial stage.

"I don't know what their (the team) choice will be, but I have a feeling they will run with Vinokourov - it is going to be one of his last chances to win the Tour."

The 46-year-old Fignon, who also won the Tour of Italy in 1989, believes Vinokourov has the instinctive ability to attack and destabilise his opponents, a gift that has often worked in the past.

However, according to Fignon the Kazakh has some weaknesses also. "If he has a bad day in the mountains, he will have trouble making up time in the individual time trials. The time trials are very important in the Tour."

The Tour commences on in London Saturday with a 7.9 kilometre individual time trial in London followed by a 203km stage one on Sunday from London to Canterbury before heading to Belgium for stages two and three.

© AFP 2007

Back to top