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18 Jul, 2007 05:39

Vinokourov slips behind at Tour de France

It's been a bad day for pre-race favourite Aleksandr Vinokourov at the Tour de France. The Kazak's hopes of claiming the yellow jersey all but disappeared he finishing over three minutes behind the winner of stage nine, Juan Mauricio Soler.

The Colombian made his move on the steep Col Du Galibier and held on to his advantage on the flying 32 kilometre descent into Briancon to claim the win.

Michael Rasmussen retains the yellow jersey after he finished in the chasing pack along with most of his major rivals.

But Astanar's Alexandr Vinokourov struggled as he was still suffering from an earlier crash which needed stitches in both knees. He's now eight minutes down in the overall standings. So is the man in yellow – Michael Rasmussen tops the general classification.

Spain's Alejandro Valverde is the man closest to the lead, jumping from 4th to second position. His fellow countryman Iban Mayo stays in third. Denis Menchov slipped to 18th, more than seven minutes adrift.