Vinokourov hangs up his wheels with farewell criterium in Monaco
Oct 07. Velonation
Olympic champion says goodbye to supporters.
Officially, his last race was the Clasica San Sebastian on August 14th, but Alexandre Vinokourov clicked into competitive mode one more time today with a farewell criterium in Port Hercule, Monaco.
Lining out alongside current and former pros including world road race champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale), Chris Froome (Sky Procycling), Jan Ullrich, Eddy Merckx, Richard Virenque and Laurent Jalabert, Vinokourov rode a gold Specialized bike to mark his Olympic road race triumph.
While the racing ramped up in the closing stages, the 50 lap criterium was equally an exhibition event, with his sons Alexandr and Nikolai also taking part. Vinokourov then jumped clear in the finale and crossed the line ahead of Gilbert and Nibali.
“Today was a perfect celebration of my career,” he said afterwards. “To have my family, my team mates and my friends with me riding around this beautiful setting was something I’ll never forget. I would like to also thank all my fans for their amazing support throughout my professional career.”
The Kazakhstan rider raced as a pro since 1998, and in that time clocked up many results. He took the Olympic title and the Vuelta a Espa?a, landed four stages in both the latter and the Tour de France, and won stage races such as the Crit?rium du Dauphin?, the Tour de Suisse, the Deutschland Tour and two editions of Paris-Nice.
His single day successes include the Amstel Gold Race, the Kazakh national road race championships and the 2005 and 2010 Li?ge-Bastogne-Li?ge.
Vinokourov’s reputation took a blow when he tested positive in the 2007 Tour de France, but he returned two years later and competed successfully for three more seasons.
With that career now over, he will move on to the next stage of his life. He is expected to take up a senior management role in the Astana team, and there have also been suggestions that he could go into politics.
Vinokourov Gentleman Party Criterum Race, Monaco:
1, Alexandr Vinokourov (Astana)
2, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
3, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale)