Vinokourov says Sanquer’s Astana exit not his decision

  •  December 3, 2010

    Kazakh aiming for podium, yellow and polka-dot at 2011 Tour de France

    Alexandre Vinokourov today dismissed the suggestion that he helped force French manager Yvon Sanquer out of the Astana team. Speaking to Cyclingnews from Astana’s first training camp of the winter in Tuscany, Italy, Vinokourov claimed that reports to that effect were the result of a mistranslation.

    “I was quoted as talking about ‘a problem’ with Yvon, but that was a mistranslation from a Russian website,” the Kazakh said. “I wasn’t aware of any issue with Yvon. In any case, it’s not me that makes the decisions. Everyone’s always going on about ‘Vinokourov deciding this, Vinokourov deciding that’, but it’s not my team. We have a general sponsor, the president of the Kazakh federation and, now, a new manager in Giuseppe Martinelli. They make the decisions. I might give a bit of input if asked but that’s it. We’re very grateful for what Yvon did. He took on the team in difficult circumstances last year and led us to Tour victory. There was no ‘problem’.”

    The Tour victory to which Vinokourov referred of course came courtesy of Alberto Contador, and the 37-year-old has already spoken out in support of his embattled former team-mate. On Thursday, Vinokourov also revealed that he had called Contador at the end of October to offer “whatever help he needed”.

    “I told him that he could count on me for whatever he needed,” Vinokourov commented. “Kazakhstan was very proud of what he achieved in Astana’s colours. If he’d needed a team, we would happily have had him back, but we’d made him a good offer in the summer and he’d decided to go elsewhere.”

    Vinokourov also reiterated his earlier statements that the Contador case was a “hard one to judge”. “I don’t know if the substance came from meat or not,” he said. “I just hope that it turns out well for him. He made a lot of sacrifices to win the Tour de France, and it’s best for everyone if he’s found innocent – for fans, for the Tour, for ASO and for Astana.”

    Looking to the Tour de France

    Contador’s presence at next year’s Tour would of course make life considerably more difficult for Vinokourov. Sixteenth in France last year and third in 2003, Vinokourov has indicated that he intends to make one final push for the Tour’s general classification in 2011. Whether he can win a race he infamously left in disgrace after a failed dope test in 2007, however, remains a moot point even for the former T-Mobile man.

    “It’s always going to be very hard now,” he admitted. “With Contador and Andy Schleck, and me turning 38 next year, I’ve got my work cut out. That said, I think I can still make the podium, perhaps wear the yellow jersey for a few days and also target the polka-dot jersey. With the team time trial on stage 2 and the strong team we should have in that discipline, there could be an opportunity in the first week. As far as surprising the favourites and winning is concerned, it’d be nice to think I could get three or four minutes in a break one day, but we know that’s not really the way the Tour works these days. The lack of bonus seconds doesn’t really favour an attacking rider either. We saw that last year with Schleck and Contador on top of the Tourmalet.”

    Vinokourov spoke finally of his newly-formed partnership with the Czech rider Roman Kreuziger, who has moved to Astana from Liquigas. Ninth overall in each of the last two editions of the Grande Boucle, Kreuziger seemed the ideal candidate to lead Astana’s challenge in the Tour, but has decided with Martinelli to focus first on the Giro.

    “We’ll see how Roman gets on at the Giro, but I don't know yet whether he'll be at the Tour,” Vinokourov commented. “The Giro is his main target next year, then he’ll switch it to the Tour the following year. For me, the Tour is the most important stage race next year, then I’ll perhaps do the Vuelta. If I can be in good form, as I was in this year, I definitely think I’ve got one great Tour left in me.”

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  • Comments 5 комментариев

  • Quote

    Byvshego trenera Nadobenko A. snachalo snali s dolzhnosti trenera sbornoi Kazachstana na shosse,a potom povysili azh do trenera profesionalnoi komandy kak Astana,»sprashevaetsa ,za kakie zaslugi i podvigi trenera ,kotoryi ne smog v svae vrema podgotovit dazhe sbornyu Kazachstana sdelali trenerom profesianalnoi komandy.V kazachstane est trenera mastera svoego dela,dostoinye etogo mesta.Budet li tolk ot etogo trenera v profesianalnoi komande?

  • Quote

    Sanquer was right when he said that he was only a showcase. And was it also not Vino’s idea to put pressure on Alberto to extend his contract? I was a fan of Vino but after he showed his true colors I’m no longer his fan. It wouldn’t have been a mistake to thank Alberto for his victories that brought Astana the big amount of points for team worldranking list.
    Mrs. Kahane, I’m so dissapointed about you. What harm did Alberto to you?

  • Quote
    azekeprofit Europe on 31 Январь 2011, 09:05:

    Sanquer was right when he said that he was only a showcase.

    That was part of the deal. He was forced by UCI (it was either him or team excluded from pro-tour), and he wanted to be treated as something else?

    And when he «conveniently» forgot to notify team’s bosses about AC’s positive — that definitely counts for a reason to sack him however you look at it.

    And was it also not Vino’s idea to put pressure on Alberto to extend his contract?

    What kind of pressure?

    Merely asking if he made up his mind already now counts for a pressure?

    Especially if THE TEAM ENTIRE STRATEGY for years to come completely depends on it.

    And i really should doubt your legitimacy as a fan, if some second-hand rumour about something political that you HEARD he made OUT OF THE RACE can disillusion you.

    Riders speak with their legs on the road, you know. If the force struggle behind the race interest you more than the race itself, then why are you even calling yourself a cycling fan in the first place?

  • Quote

    It wouldn’t have been a mistake to thank Alberto for his victories that brought Astana the big amount of points for team worldranking list.

    he’s supporting AC. you won’t deny that. ok. as per the points AC brought to Astana, well, they are all taken by Saxo and Riis now, so you missing a point here.
    off the topic. I am a fan of Alberto and think he is a big talent and did excellent job for the team, but your comment is biased towards Vino. I respect Vino even more after this season because he is the man who honors his words (he promised to be a super domestique for AC and did a brilliant job).

  • Quote

    Alberto isn’t just a talent — he is a Chanpion.

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