Astana Pro Team general manager Alexandr Vinokurov decided to prank the riders: in the guise of an old man he joined the riders at the training and showed his class, passing everyone on the climb 👴 #AstanaProTeam pic.twitter.com/DYB8Ykuedc
— Astana Pro Team (@AstanaTeam) January 18, 2018
Astana‘s riders were left wondering who the fast ‘old man’ was who rode past them on a climb during their training camp. Little did they know that it was former professional rider and Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov disguised as a portly gentleman, complete with false moustache and wig.
Vino’s disguise was completed with a large orange jacket and some sunglasses, and he didn’t hold back in nodding his head as he pedalled.
A video of the prank was put on Twitter by the team, saying: “Astana Pro Team general manager Alexandr Vinokurov decided to prank the riders: in the guise of an old man he joined the riders at the training and showed his class, passing everyone on the climb.”
Vinokourov evidently still has plenty of energy left, as the 44-year-old Kazakh zipped past his younger team members – causing some to double take and wonder who the mystery riders was.
Of course, the team tried to keep up with him on the climb and Vinokourov revealed his true identity as they reached the top of the ascent.
Keen-eyed riders probably should have been able to spot that Vino was riding one of the team’s bikes, although they were probably more mesmerised by his orange jacket and flowing grey hair.
During his professional career from 1998 to 2012, Vinokourov won four stages apiece in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, and took gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games road race. He also appeared on the Tour podium once, after placing third overall in the 2005 edition.
His numerous other victories include overall wins in Paris-Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and wins in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold Race.
Vinokourov’s cycling career took an enforced break from 2007 to 2009 after he tested positive for blood doping at the 2007 Tour. He was also embroiled in allegations that he bribed Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev to secure his Liège victory in 2010 – a matter than has still not been resolved.