Christine Cahane: Hello from Madrid to Astanafans

  • Hello from Madrid to Astanafans surfers and cycling lovers everywhere!

    Last Saturday we were at the Astana hotel to welcome the riders and staff at their arrival in Madrid, after a-three and a half hour drive from Vitoria for the team. It was nearly 10PM and most of them were exhausted and starving.

    Nevertheless, they almost all acknowledged our presence and posed for a photo at the restaurant entrance. As usual, a round table was set for the riders and another for the staff.
    The directors: Messrs. Martinelli, Bontempi, Makhmetov and Dr. Andreazzoli arrived with the team bus and the last shift.

    Everybody went at once to dinner, except Blandine who skipped it in order to write her daily report for the Astana team official website. She was anxious to see if the internet connection would work since she had had a lot of problems with that the night before.

    Preparing for the final battle

    For her 25 years of age, Blandine is already a true professional. And Blandine eats like a little bird. That’s probably why she is so slim, although full of energy.


    Needless to say that the whole team was overjoyed with Enrico Gasparotto’s second place in the Vitoria sprint and we took this opportunity to congratulate him personally.

    The ultimate Sunday Madrid stage was starting late, so the riders could spleep on and rest.

    Mechanics Javi Lopez and José Gil Rodriguez at work

    But the mechanics: Javier Lopez, Jose Gil Rodriguez, and Dimitri Andryuchenko were already at 8AM in the parking lot washing all the bikes as well as the team cars.

    Soigneurs are ready Sergey Lavrenenko and Juan Pujol


    Then it was the turn of soigneurs Sergey Larenenko, Juan Pujol and David Vargas to start putting in the truck the countless suitcases since the whole team was moving into another hotel, near the airport, for its last night in Madrid.

    If I have not already said so, you should know that a mechanic and a soigneur always share the same room. So, never two soigneurs or two mechanics together in the same room. That’s a rule.

    Fans taking photos of helicopter announcing arrival of the race


    Sunday afternoon we decided to skip the departure on the Jarama motobike circuit and headed straight towards the center of Madrid where the peloton would do a circuit passing the finish line 11 times.

    There we met a group of Kazakh journalists, who we would meet again that same nigtht at the team dinner.

    Giving an interview to Kazakh national TV


    While I was interviewed for Kazakh TV by Dina Iskakova and Dina Ibrayeva, I could not help thinking it was an amusing circumstance since my son Raphael, a TV journalist for French channel France 24, was at the same time covering a four-hour program live in New York for the commemoration of the 11th September 2001 terrorist attack, doing lots of interviews.

    While following the race from the press zone, we were happy to renew acquaintance with Alberto Contador, who was there as a neighbour, and when he noticed our presence he came over to us to say hello.

    Riders' table


    The team dinner, on Sunday night, went very well, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. It lasted over three hours and took place in a famous Basque restaurant in the center of Madrid. We could savour several courses of exquisite specialties.

    Kazakh journalists' table

    There were two long tables, one for the riders and staff, and the other for the diplomats and Kazakh journalists.

    I was seated near Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, who everybody calls “Abdou” and who speaks excellent French. On the other side, my neighbour was very friendly journalist Alevtina Donskisk, “Alia”, who enjoyed addressing a few words of French to me.

    Speech by Kazakh ambassador in Spain

    Alia who loves an Italo-Belgian singer called Adamo, took out her smartphone and, after a bit of tinkering, found the song “Tombe la neige”, the 60’s favourite for cheek-to-cheek dancing, and we all started to hum it, specially since Philippe Amato, Andrey Kashechkine’s public relations man is from Belgium but also of Italian origin. We had a lot of fun singing.

    The Kazakh embassador in Madrid made a nice speech saying how admired Astana team was in Kazakhstan.

    Then Enrico Gasparotto spoke in the name of all the riders to thank the soigneurs and mechanics of the team, who are so devoted and hard-working. He added that although they had hoped for a better final result for the team, the riders had done their best and worked at 100% of their capacity every day for the whole 3 weeks. He added that it was nice for team spirit and morale to have this end-of-race dinner all together. He got a lot of applause!

    Fredrick Kessiakoff, who had reached at one point such a high place in the GC, explained that he got sick from food poisoning, of which several other riders in various teams suffered too. This illness spoiled all his chaces of a place on the Vuelta 2011 podium.

    There were many toasts made, and around midnight we left the restaurant to go home while several riders decided to finish the night by joining the big fiesta organized by the Vuleta people.

    Have fun, guys you deserved it


    On our way back to our hotel we were stopped by a police roadblock and, thank God, escaped by the skin of our teeth (thanks to our French car registration and Roger’s serious appearance) the alcotest which might have been embarassing!

    Good bye to all of you!

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  • Comments 11 комментариев

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    Thank you for your great work. Wish you all the best!

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    Уважаемые журналисты Хабара, и Казахстан…вот вы что там делаете??? никаких роликов, никаких сюжетов про Вуэльту…как вам не стыдно находится там))))

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    Great report. nice to see the team so united. many thanks!

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    Уважаемые журналисты Хабара, и Казахстан…вот вы что там делаете??? никаких роликов, никаких сюжетов про Вуэльту…как вам не стыдно находится там))))

    они же только вчера прилетели

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    «Philippe Amato, Andrey Kashechkine’s public relations»

    я х..ю просто

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    они же только вчера прилетели

    ну максимум что можно ожидать от них это 2-3-х минутный сюжет

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    Christine, thank you for your report and supporting Astana team!

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    У Кристин всегда позитивные фоторепортажи)
    Интересно,Роберт специально свой чубчик бриолинит? 🙂

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    Спасибо, Кристин, за Вашу любовь к Астане!

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    Кристин, огромное спасибо вам! Всегда с радостью читаем ваши репортажи из гонок! Просим вас продолжать в том же духе! И ещё раз спасибо.

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    Thanks, great!!!

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