Vinokourov recovers to win Tour's 15th stage

Alexandre Vinokourov won the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Monday

Alexandre Vinokourov won the 15th stage of the 94th Tour de France on Monday.

The Kazakhstan rider, a former race favourite whose hopes of a Tour victory vanished when he lost nearly 29 minutes Sunday to overall leader Michael Rassmussen, crossed the finish alone.

Vinokourov broke away near the end of the 196-kilometre ride from Foix to Loudenvielle-Le Louron for his fifth Tour stage win and his second this year.

He also took Friday's time trial in Albi.

"I wasn't motivated yesterday," said Vinokourov, who struggled to stay in contention for the overall lead after injuring his knees in the fifth stage.

"But the team told me I could still win stages. I gave my all."

Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg and Haimar Zubeldia of Spain both trailed Vinokourov by 51 seconds.

Rasmussen and Alberto Contador were several minutes back.

Rasmussen held off several challenges to defend his overall lead.

He retained a two-minute, 23-second advantage over Contador despite repeated attacks from the Spaniard in the last of five climbs in the stage.

Cadel Evans of Australia, third overall, lost time to Rasmussen and drifted to four minutes off the Dane's pace.