Bidding adieu in style
Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov sprinted to victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday, crushing British hopes of gold on the first full day of competition at the London Olympic Games.india Updated: Jul 29, 2012 01:31 IST
Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov sprinted to victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday, crushing British hopes of gold on the first full day of competition at the London Olympic Games.
Vinokourov surged past Colombia's Rigoberto Uran on the final stretch near Buckingham Palace in central London after a star-studded British team had failed in a desperate attempt to bridge a gap of nearly a minute behind the leading pack and set up a win for world champion Mark Cavendish.
Siling brings China’s first gold
China's Yi Siling became the first gold medallist of the Games when she won the 10-metre air rifle shooting - despite confessing to reporters: “For the first round and the last round I was very nervous and didn't know what I was doing."
On a good opening day for Asian nations, South Korea's Jin Jong-oh won the men's 10-metre air pistol shooting.
British cyclists’ hopes dashed
After Friday night's opening ceremony, where Britain laid on an exuberant and sometimes eccentric extravaganza for the world, local hopes were running high that world road racing champion Cavendish could win the host nation's first gold of the Games.
But despite controlling much of the race, the home team, including Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, failed to rein in a 32-man group on the way back to the centre of the city after nine ascents of Box Hill in rural Surrey.
The victor, a tearful Vinokourov, was suspended for two years in 2007 for blood doping.
He announced he was quitting professional cycling after crashing out of the Tour de France last year, but could not resist the urge to get back on the bike. On Saturday, he said he was finally ready to retire from the sport. “It’s magnificent to end it like this,” said Vinokourov, who beat Colombia's Rigoberto Uran to the gold medal after 249.5 km of racing.
“All the big champions like (Laurent) Jalabert and (Richard) Virenque went out on top and I wanted to do the same.”
Vinokourov is set to compete in the time trial next week, but "just to give the legs a run-out," he added.
Norway's Alexander Kristoff took bronze, and Britain's Cavendish finished 29th, 40 seconds behind the winner after the gruelling 250-km (156-mile) slog.