Kazakhstan’s Team Astana and Tour de France

I know NOTHING about Tour de France, only that Lance Armstrong has won it many times.  What was it 7 times?  These guys pedal their bikes over rough terrain for 90 hours over the course of a week or two. Okay, I admit it, I don’t follow Wimbledon or the World Cup either.  Too much else to do. You see, I’d rather bike than watch other people bike or run after a ball or play tennis.

It certainly has been a good year in sports for Spain what with the World Cup and all. But I think this has to be put in the context of where Kazakhstan fits in with all the hoopla. I didn’t know about Alberto Contador, the Spaniard, who rode with Team Astana. Next time maybe it might be a Kazakh or Kazakhstani that could stand on the winner’s platform for Tour de France.

My American colleague at work, who is a great biking fan (means that he does his own pedaling around Astana whenever he can) informed me with the following:

“It is all over but the champagne ride to Paris.  Team Astana rider Alberto Contador has won the Tour de France by less than one minute and one of the five closest margins in tour history.  Tomorrow is only a ceremonial ride with no real competitive riding, except for the sprinters at the end of the race.  We should feel proud that Team Astana has won. It is the only team in the race so closely associated with a country and, as we know, a team that the President of Kazakhstan has shown a direct interest.  All Kazakhstanis should feel proud.

And let us not forget Vinokuorov. He was the highest placed KZ rider and won a stage on his own.  He has demonstrated that he is a top cyclist, placing well in the rankings and assisting Contador in his victory. I am sure that we will hear more of him in the future.”

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