Someone tweeted a link to this interview with Alexandre Vinokourov on a French pro cycling blog, so I thought I would have a go at translating it.
Vinokourov: « I can win without doping too »
Who would have bet on Alexandre Vinokourov’s (Astana) second success at Ans? The Kazakh rider admits that he believed he could win before the start of la Doyenne. And he was right to hope that this victory allows him to prove things to his detractors. However, the argument has now started: Did Vino deserve this win after his two year suspension?
Alexandre, how did you feel crossing the finish line?
I felt a lot of emotion. Returning to la Doyenne five years after my win, and winning again, is more than a dream. For me, and for my team and Kazakhstan. After the Tour of Trentino, I told myself: why not win Liège-Bastogne-Liège? (or why can’t I win LBL?) and then I asked myself if I was going to be able to recover properly. I wanted to stay in bed. In the end, I gave it everything, and with my experience, that was enough.
Do you understand that people have lost confidence in you after the scandal that has affected you?
Today, I just showed the real Vinokourov. Vino, that’s class (sic). I have turned the page and from now on I’ll never go back. I can win without doping too and that’s the most important thing. I have been working since last year so that you, the journalists and the fans can have confidence in me again. This win is a revenge for me.
Other riders have returned to racing after a suspension, but haven’t done as well, and as quickly as you, What is your secret?
It’s just class. When you have it, it’s all right. Even at the Worlds and the Tour of Lombardy last year, I was ready. I had done specific work in the mountains and I had done rides of over seven hours. I never stopped training despite my suspension. Every person is different, but I truly wanted to come back.
Could it be said that you took this second Doyenne thanks to Alberto Contador, who thwarted the other favourites?
It’s not just because of him. The whole team helped me and without my teammates, it would be possible to win this type of race. Each rider deserves congratulations for his work. Contador was there in the final kilometres and I finished the work of my teammates.
Why did you train in Tenerife rather than Monaco, where you live? Is it due to the presence of Fuentes on the Spanish island?
In Monaco, I can work, but I have my family life. I love being with my children and I like to make the most of this time, but I still can’t go for long rides in the big passes like in Tenerife. In any case, I don’t work with Fuentes. Why would it be due to him that I go there? This season, there was nearly 25 riders there. They go there becuase this terrain doesn’t exist in Europe. That’s all. »
Do you condemn doping now?
Why would I say otherwise? Of course, it’s necessary to fight against doping. Some people still play with fire but you need to work to get anywhere. This is why I want to show what I can produce now. In 2007? I don’t want to go back there. I have done my two years of suspension. We’re here to talk about my win.
What are your dreams from now on?
I hope, after the Giro, to participate in the Tour de France and to win the yellow jersey with Contador. I will help him and support him. After that, I think that I will have won enough races. I would think about perhaps finishing my career. We will see after the Tour. But before [retiring], I would like to go to the time trial world championships to beat Fabian Cancellara. Even if his is unbeatable!
I have translated this myself, so I could discuss it with people, but I did not have permission. I hope you’ll either discuss the comments here, or in French over at www.cyclismerevue.eu. If you want to reuse the information, it’s only right that you reference www.cyclismerevue.eu.
I take a few things from this interview: Vino seems a little more willing to confront the doping issue but still glosses over the past quite a lot. His comments about thinking he could win the race and his inherent class as a rider belie an arrogance that has turned many fans against him, but that is also the hallmark of a winner. He also fully expects to get a ride in the Tour.