25-year old Andrey Amador Bipkazacova, yesterday’s stage winner in the Giro d’Italia and the first Costa Rican to win a stage in a Grand Tour, has an older brother who also cycles – although Ivan, who’s five year’s older than Andrey, has only raced as an amateur in his native Costa Rica.
The two have an interesting heritage. Their paternal grandmother is Spanish while their mother is a Russian immigrant who arrived in the country after meeting and marrying their Costa Rican father.
Regular followers of VeloVoices will know that our Kitty is a big fan of the Costa Rican cutie. Sadly, I’ve been unable to track down a photograph of his brother, so I don’t know if those hot Latin looks run in the family.
Andrey enjoyed a couple of very successful years racing in the junior ranks in Spain, initially for a club in Lizarte and then for continental team, Vina Magna Cropu, both based in Navarre. He also spent time at the UCI’s training centre in Aigle, before graduating in 2009 to Caisse D’Epargne – now Movistar – who have carefully nurtured the youngster. Yesterday was his maiden professional win!
The victory will not be a surprise to the folks back home where Andrey is one of the best known Costa Rican athletes. He carried the Costa Rican flag at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Pan American Games held in his home nation. In addition, Andrey’s featured on a series of stamps and will be representing his country at this years London 2012 Olympic Games. Here he is talking to Costa Rica’s Channel 9 about the forthcoming Games.
Andrey first rode the Giro back in 2010 and finished a respectable 41st.
Back home in Costa Rica at the end of the 2010 season, Andrey was out riding his brand new Pinarello Dogma when he was mugged. The thieves stole his bike and beat him so badly he was unconscious for six hours in a riverbed running alongside the road. When he finally came around, he called his older brother Ivan to come and collect him. Initially, his injuries didn’t appear to be too serious but had to be taken back to hospital the following day to be treated for lung contusions and a paralysed kidney.
He’d not long recovered and was back riding for Movistar when he was involved in a Movistar multiple-pile up in the Vuelta a Asturias in April 2011 which left him with a broken collarbone and unable to take part in the Giro again. As a consequence, he became the first Costa Rican to take part in last year’s Tour de France where his progress was hampered by a badly sprained ankle sustained on the first stage. Indeed, he flirted with being the lanterne rouge [the last-placed finisher in Paris – Ed] before moving up the GC.
He’s been pretty active in this year’s Giro. He was in a breakaway on stage eight which was brought back within 17km of the finishing line. Undeterred, he gave it another go on Thursday on stage 12, only to be beaten to the runner-up spot by Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat). But as we all know, persistence pays dividends and here he is winning yesterday’s stage from another breakaway.
However, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news to Andrey’s growing fan club. He’s already spoken for by the lovely Catalan, Laura Segu. Well, what did you expect?