Andrey Mizurov made the news recently when he was accused by Thomas Voeckler, in an article in L’Equipe, of throwing a bidon at him. Does Andrey have anger management issues? No, he’s very mild-mannered, both on and off the bike, and quite categorically refutes the accusation. This is despite provocation from Voeckler who made unflattering remarks about Andrey’s national road race champion’s jersey and hence, the Kazakh flag. However, just as a precautionary measure you understand, we made sure Andrey had nothing to hand while we were watching Paris-Nice last weekend, where Thomas Voeckler was racing:
Step away from the bidon, step away now, Andrey!
Now that little misunderstanding has been cleared up, back to the matter in hand. Please raise your glasses of vodka [naturally – Ed], “С Днем Рождения!” and “Будь здоров!” to Andrey who’s 39 years young and still seeking gainful employment with a team. There have been a few nibbles since his contract with Astana ended, but nothing concrete. Andrey’s a modest man so I thought I’d say a few words in his favour.
This is a man with an admirable work ethic honed by the sadistic training regimes of the former USSR, he can ride tempo all day long on the front of the peloton. He eats pain for breakfast. Think Jens Voigt.
A couple of years back, my husband and I had popped in to our local bike shop for a coffee and a chat. It had been tipping it down with rain all day long. It was awful. You wouldn’t have sent a dog out into it. The door opened and in squelched Andrey trailing pools of water across the floor. He’d been out training for five hours. He told me that as he has to race in the rain, it pays to train in the rain.
He’s just come back from a three-week, self-financed trip training at altitude in Ecuador with the young Kazakh squad with whom, no doubt, he was sharing the benefit of his experience – he’s ridden in support of Alberto Contador, Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov – and being wholly supportive and encouraging of their efforts, while beating the pants off them.
Not only is Andrey the current Kazakh road race champion, he finished second in the time trial and is a fine exponent of the art having won numerous titles at national and regional level. Are there any teams out there in need of additional advice and support in this area ahead of, say, this year’s Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia, where he’s ridden on Pantani and Contador’s winning teams? Let’s not forget the inaugural trade team time trial at this year’s World Championships.
Andrey is proud of his Kazakh heritage and, longer term, would really like to be involved in further developing talent in his home region of Asia, an area where he’s successfully competed for a number of years, has both experience and knowledge of the races and terrain, won a number of prestigious races and has been the region’s number one rider.
Like most bike riders he’s a bit of a polyglot. He speaks Russian and French and a little of lots of many other languages. However, fear not, if you need him to speak English fluently, I have developed a crash course for him that’ll make those former eastern-bloc training sessions feel like a walk in the park.
Finally, as far as we’re aware there’s no truth whatsoever in the rumour that Thomas Voeckler has obtained an Andrey Doll [not a bad likeness – Ed] and has been throwing bidons at it. Replica dolls were made by fans last year for every member of the Astana team who rode in the Japan Cup. That’s right, in Japan, fans give the riders presents as opposed to hitting them up for caps, bidons, shirts whatever.
Happy birthday, Andrey. May your 40th year be as productive as your first 39.
If you would like to contact Andrey, you can do so via VeloVoices. Meanwhile, while he’s waiting for your call, Andrey will be supplying VeloVoices, from time to time, with recollections from his long and successful career.