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Alexander Vinokourov surgery successful after crash at Tour de France

LE LIORAN, France (AFP) ─ The Astana team reported on Monday that an operation on Alexander Vinokourov’s fractured femur was successful following his devastating crash at the Tour de France the day before.

2011 Tour de France, stage 9, Alexander Vinokourov
Vinokourov is helped to an ambulance after a debilitating crash on Sunday. | Graham Watson photo

Vinokourov, who finished third overall in 2003, ended what was to be his eighth and final Tour by being catapulted into the trees on the descent of the Col du Pas de Peyrol.

Vinokourov, one of the most respected and feared riders in the professional peloton, suffered a fracture at the top of his femur. He was one of several riders to abandon on the crash-marred ninth stage.

The 37-year-old was flown to Paris immediately where he underwent surgery through the night on a “complex fracture”
of his upper femur at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital.

Hours after his crash the former Asian cycling champion made no announcement about future plans, but said he had never imagined his race would finish in such terrible fashion.

“I never thought the Tour de France would all end so dramatically,” Vinokourov said according to his Astana team. “It’s a huge disappointment for me. I feel so down tonight, but I’m trying to reassure myself by saying that I could have come off worse.”

Vinokourov has twice won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic and has four Tour de France stage wins.

Popularly known as “Vino,” his last attack on the race came Saturday when he went off alone in pursuit of a five-man breakaway that had him in the virtual lead of the race before he was caught inside the final two kilometers.

As well as his exploits, Vinokourov is known for his darker side.

In 2007 he was thrown off the race, after the 15th stage and during the second rest day, when it was announced he had tested positive for blood doping, leading to a two-year ban from the sport.