Kazakhstan Wins Gold!
by, 07-28-2012 at 10:29 PM (501 Views)
Given that our son was born in Kazakhstan and that we spent a combined over two months in the country a couple of years ago, meeting the people and immersing ourselves in their culture, we have affectionate spot in our hearts for the country. We wondered about their Olympic team. What a thrill we got when on the first day of competition they win a gold.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0..._hp_ref=sportsAlexandr Vinokourov Wins Olympic Cycling Road Race Gold Medal For Kazakhstan
By SAMUEL PETREQUIN 07/28/12 03:38 PM ET
LONDON — Alexander Vinokourov sprung the first surprise of the London Olympics.
The 38-year-old Kazakh defeated the British cycling "dream team" on his own, winning the gold medal in the men's road race to crown the end of a 14-year career that saw him in the roles of both hero and villain.
Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France, said he will retire after Wednesday's time trial.
He would not have been riding in London had he stuck to his decision to end his career last year, when he broke a femur during the Tour de France. His morale was so low he said he would not race again, but he changed his mind and returned for one more year.
"After so many crashes, returning to cycling was difficult, but I was still hoping for a good result," Vinokourov said after outsprinting Rigoberto Uran of Colombia. "My family, my kids, my parents were behind me the whole time. I still have the metal plate in my hip, my femur, so it wasn't easy. Today, a dream has come true."
Now that’s a great story: aging veteran, family man, sinner seeking redemption, a broken man pulling himself together to win by enhancing his athletic prowess with experienced cunning.
Wow, acknowledging his past transgression and actually praising the people who caught him is classy too. I had never heard of him before. I don’t follow cycling. I’m really glad I looked him up.Vinokourov, who rode with only one teammate, made sure to avoid a bunch sprint by pulling away from the lead pack and avoiding any chances of collisions near the end of the 250-kilometer race that featured the tricky Box Hill climb.
"Today, especially in the last 10 kilometers, the fact that the major teams – and especially the Germans – had no team radios played in my favors," said Vinokourov, who is known for launching fearless attacks, even when chances to succeed are low.
"I knew that if was following the group I would have had no chance in the sprint," he added.
Vinokourov's career reached its nadir when he was suspended for doping, but despite the stain on his reputation, he remained a fan favorite.
When asked about his failed blood tests, Vinokourov did not elaborate and praised the UCI work.
"2007 is a closed chapter," he said. "The question was already asked in 2010. I think it's no longer important to be asked. I proved it. I proved that I can come back and race and be good on the bike. Cycling has changed a lot, organizers and the UCI have done a lot to fight doping."
Here’s a video clip of him on youtube. I don’t believe any of the cinematography in the clip is of this Olympic run.