Happy Birthday Alexandre – С Днем Рождения Александр.
The sun has set on Alex’s career as a racer. His last ride, for sentimental reasons, was the Clasica San Sebastian where I heard his short retirement speech in the press room after the race. Yes, he’d come to show off his Olympic jersey(s) and his striking gold bike, giving them another outing before hanging them up in his trophy cabinet along with the gold medal he won in the road race at this year’s Olympics: a fitting end to his 15-year career. He’d also come to try and win after finishing runner-up to this year’s winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) two years ago. It wasn’t to be but, as always, he tried to win. An attitude much appreciated by the crowd, his popularity among the Basque cycling aficionados evident by the number of autographs he handed out and all those queuing to have their photo taken with him one last time.
While no official announcement has yet been made, we fully anticipate seeing Alex behind the wheel of an Astana-badged car next year passing on his words of wisdom and race-craft to his team.
So as we light the 39 candles on his glittering birthday cake, let’s take a look back over Alex’s long and successful career with a selection of videos and photographs.
Here’s one of the many tribute videos on YouTube displaying his attacking spirit:
Alex has also been a faithful supporter of the local cycling club, which each year hosts a sportif in memory of Alex’s late friend and fellow rider Andrei Kivilev. He and other local professionals take part whenever possible and he provides plenty of Astana goodies for the obligatory post-race tombola.
We’ve already covered his winning the Olympic gold medal, but here’s a post-Olympics interview in London:
He’s recently been back in Kazakhstan with the other Olympic athletes to receive recognition of their achievements in London 2012 from the government. Here’s a clip about Alex which was shown on Kazakh television:
Finally, here is a picture of what Alex values the most: his family. No doubt they’ll be helping him to blow out all those candles!
The Monagesque Cycling Federation is holding a farewell criterium race for Alex around the port of Monaco on Sunday 7th October. There’ll be one race for the amateurs and one for the professionals. Further information here.