Posts tagged Alberto Contador

Kazakhstan’s Shame in the Tour de France Victory

Apparently there seems, for some Kazakhs, to be shamed embarrassment over Kazakhstan’s involvement in Tour de France. I had to use Google translator to get the gist of this article that showed up this past week. The writer of the article is Olzhas Suleimenov, a well known public figure in Kazakhstan. He explained that the “Spaniard” he didn’t even use his name, Alberto Contador, won this major cycling event by a mere 6 seconds.

Yes, Contador’s biking apparel “Astana” was emblazoned in Kazahstan’s two colors of yellow and blue. Perhaps it should be thought of as wearing “Radio Shack” or some other sponsor. The sad humiliation that is suffered by this Kazakh author is that the Tour de France hosts did not play the Kazakh national anthem in Paris where the celebration honored the “Spaniard” instead.

Also, the mayor of Astana supposedly should have been in attendance, but he was not. I am curious why Kazakhstan has pursued this sporting event by paying the top cyclist to wear their colors and Astana shirt. I might add that Astana is merely the capital of Kazakhstan so technically it doesn’t have its own anthem either. However, a LOT of money has been sunk into the northern capital and much money was spent on the Tour de France team.

To show what kind of translation happens from Russian to English, I’ll quote what was written by Suleimenov:

“The band played the national anthem in honor of the winning team. We expected the anthem of Kazakhstan, our country still has a team, formally a team of Kazakhstan. However, sang a hymn of Spain. Last year, the Spaniard also won a t-shirt “Astana”, and then also Spanish national anthem sounded on the Champs Elysees. Next year is a good chance Luxembourger, and perhaps it will be in our shirt “Astana”. And then clap anthem of Luxembourg.

To hear our national anthem, to feel pride for their country, we will have to wait for win kazahstanets. Long wait. We still invest in the development of cycling in Europe…
Everybody congratulates the Spaniards, and we are again as in a strange feast. Humiliated by his own generosity? “

I don’t quite understand what the last sentence means: “Humiliated by his own generosity.”  But could it mean that the Kazakhs were generous to allow the Spaniard to wear their colors and name but then when he won, the rest of the celebration recognized him as a cyclist from Spain leaving Kazakhstan out?

There’s another article that popped up in English about Alberto Contador from a Madrid AP newspaper. Apparently Contador rejected the Astana team’s offer to extend his contract. Contador was exploring other options or perhaps it was too close for his comfort to win only 6 seconds ahead of his competitor. Maybe his teammates had let him down somewhere along the way?

From what I understand, Contador had been with Team Astana for three years but the first year his team was denied a place in the Tour de France because of doping violations. Also, more bad news for Team Astana, according to this article, Team Astana had trouble paying those cyclists from Kazakhstan who were on the team, maybe Contador was not paid in a timely manner as well. Who knows the true story and from which side is it coming from?

Why didn’t Contador ride for Spain is my question?

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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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