Alexander Vinokourov: CT Interview —


    October 4, 2010

    Q. Vino, thanks for taking the time to have a chat ahead of the Tour of Hainan . Will you be targeting the race win for this event, or are you using it as preparation for the Asian Games?

    The Tour of Hainan is an important race in China and I'm not going there to make up the numbers. But it will be very important indeed for the preparation of Asian Games. I'll find my bearings.

    Q. How do you feel your first full year back in the Pro Tour has gone?

    I feel like a junior! I suffered at times but I am surprised that I recovered well and quickly. It encourages me to continue a little longer. Q. How have you found the reaction to your return? Have most of the guys in the peloton been positive?

    Public response has been wonderful, everyone was really supportive. In the peloton, it was the same, we are a big family, we’re very respectful of each other. My return was watched with curiosity and then with respect when I showed that I had not lost any of my qualities.

    Q. How important was winning Liege – Bastogne – Liege this year to you as a professional making such a high profile comeback?

    It was a huge moment in my career. This was the signal that Vino was back among the great.

    Q. There was a lot of negative reaction from fans after your Liege – Bastogne -Liege win, as you had previously been such a fan favourite, were you surprised by this?

    I haven’t heard so many whistles from the public as journalists have told. Anyway, I didn’t take it as an attack against me. Maybe the public was just disappointed that Philippe Gilbert didn’t win in his childhood country?

    Q. Stage 13 of this years Tour de France saw a lot of attacking and counter attacking. What did it mean to you to get the stage win after everything that had happened before this moment?

    It was a feeling of happiness, like a homecoming. I was accepted again in the Tour de France thanks to this victory. It was a new recognition.

    Q. This year during the Tour we saw you in a different role, riding for Contador. With his switch to Saxo Bank next season, will we see you leading the Astana team.

    I will be one of the leaders with Kreuziger. My role won’t change so much, I had a lot of responsibilities this year and I showed that I can assume it.

    Q. Do you feel you will be capable of pulling on the yellow jersey?

    Why not? When you never try you never obtain anything. The yellow jersey would be a dream coming true.

    Q. When you decide to retire from cycling, do you think you will have any regrets?

    I won’t regret because we always get what we deserve. The biggest regret will certainly concern the fact that I won’t be able to share the rest of my career with my friend Andrei Kivilev. He left too soon and whenever I think of him, of what we would have done together.

    Q. When you were growing up, what was the best piece of advice you ever received?

    In URSS times we were taught to always believe in ourselves and never give up.

    And finally,
    Q. As someone who has experienced the highs & lows of the cycling world, is there any advice you can give to the younger riders about the demands of being a professional cyclist?

    Always believe in yourself, always believe that anything is possible. For that, we must dare and never fall asleep. To challenge yourself is always a good service you can provide.

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