Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) won the overall at the Giro del Trentino in northern Italy by the narrowest of margins.
Vinokourov had just enough in the tank to win by 0.14 seconds over Riccardo Riccò (Flaminia) in a wild charge up the Pampeago climb deep in the heart of the Dolomites.
The Pampeago played judge and jury in the fourth and final stage at Trentino. The stunning Dolomite summit has an average grade of 10.1 percent with ramps as steep as 14 percent, perhaps the hardest climb so far in the 2010 season.
Those steeps were not hard enough for Riccò to shake Vinokourov. The Astana rider won the opening prologue and had the legs to fend off a host of climbers through the following two stages. Friday’s big showdown came down fractions of a second.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) won the stage ahead of the chasing Riccò, who crossed the line second. Vinokourov crossed the line fourth with a sliver of time gap to Riccò to give him his first stage-race victory since his return from a blood doping ban last year.
Vinokourov will travel to Belgium where he will race Liège-Bastogne-Liège, racing with teammate Alberto Contador, on Sunday.
1. Domenico Pozzovivo (I), Colnago-CSF Inox, in 4:15:00
2. Riccardo Ricco (I), Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce, at 0:02
3. Sergio Pardilla-Bellon (Sp), Carmiooro NGC, at 0:24
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kz), Astana, at 0:26
5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol), Miche, at 0:26
Final overall standings
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kz), Astana, in 13:20:06
2. Riccardo Ricco (I), Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce, at 0:00.14
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (I), Colnago-CSF Inox, at 0:42
4. Michele Scarponi (I), Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, at 0:44
5. Ivan Basso (I), Liquigas Doimo, at 0:56