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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

"A classic is something everybody wants to have read, but nobody wants to read" - Mark Twain

Vinokourov says Nibali will stay with Astana 2 more years

Talking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Astana team boss Alexandre Vinokourov noted, "Regarding the number of wins, 34, 2015 has been our best season. In total, since 2006, there are already 214 victories. Among these are seven Grand Tours: We have won the Giro, Tour and Vuelta.

When asked, Ten years of Astana: How much did this cost? Two hundred million Euros? Vinokourov answered, "Yes, that is a plausible number."

About Nibali, how likely is that that he will prolong his contract with you? "I met with is agent today. Vincenzo [Nibali] feels good about us because we have provided all the conditions needed for him to give his best. I'd say, 99-percent, in 2017 and 2018 that he well still race with us. Why should he change?"

Vincenzo Nibali and Alexandre Vinokourov

Alexandre Vinokourov and Vincenzo Nibali

Boonen & Friends charity racing event

Here's the posting from Tom Boonen's team, Etixx-Quick step:

The sixth edition of the annual fund-raising race – which took place on Saturday, in the Belgian city of Mol – raised once again awareness on the work of the Move To Improve and Bijs charities.

Great weather, an enthusiast crowd and some of the best riders in the world. These were the main ingredients of the Boonen and Friends Cyclo-Cross, which was run on a 2-km long circuit in the Park of Zilvermeer. Although he couldn't participate as he is still recovering from an injury suffered in the Abu Dhabi Tour, Tom Boonen came at the race to meet his fans and support the cause of the event, whose main purpose is to help children and make their lives better.

At the end of the race won by his fellow countryman Sean De Bie, Boonen was all smiles and labeled the day as a huge success: "I think it's the best edition we had so far. The crew is getting more experienced and everything is well organized. We had a nice course, strong riders, good weather and a great crowd. We collected money from the people who came here and we hope to raise even more at the auction which will take place tonight. For my part, I'll come with a bike and some jerseys, as well as an artwork."

Boonen and Friends race

Cold weather for the Boonen & Friends event

Last time he raced the Boonen and Friends Cyclo-Cross, Zdenek Štybar was given a one-minute handicap, but that didn't stop him from winning. Now, the three-time cyclo-cross World Champion started 30 seconds after the main pack, but couldn't repeat the feat of 2013: "The parcours was much easier than last time and there were also more riders in the peloton. On top of that, we had iron plates over the descents, so my advantage was basically gone. It was very difficult for me to close the gap, but the fact I didn't win is less important. The main thing is the event turned out to be great and the charity is the real winner of the day."

2014 World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski was among the riders who rode the race and had only words of praise at the end: "It's difficult to describe how I feel, although it wasn't the first time I came here. I'd say it was tougher than two years ago. When Štybar is passing you, is like you're on a roller coaster. I'm really happy to be here for charity, for the kids, and I'm glad so many pros made time to ride the cyclo-cross. Also, we must thank to the Belgian public, who is always special."

His feelings were echoed by new Etixx – Quick-Step cyclist Marcel Kittel: "It was the third cyclo-cross race I did in my life and the second one with a cyclo-cross bike, and it was really nice. It was fun for us riders and the fans, and I really enjoyed it. We had many riders, many spectators and we managed to reach our goal, which was to raise public awareness on those who are in need."

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary