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News Roundup Special Edition 12 March 2003
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 3/12/2003
News Roundup Special Edition 12 March 2003

Black Veil Over the Race of the Sun

Today's third stage of Paris-Nice, from Puy-en-Velay to Pont du Gard was neutralized in memory of fallen Cofidis rider Andrei Kivilev, who died Wednesday after suffering a fall in Stage 2 on Tuesday. More information on this tragic incident can be found here.

After a minute of silence by the peloton, today's stage was ridden as a quiet procession, the loudspeakers silent, with Kivilev's Cofidis team members riding in front of the rest of the peloton. It was aptly put that Stage 3 was a stage of silence, that initial moment lasting five hours.

Many of the riders learned of the tragedy either in their hotels or when they arrived to sign in, and many were visibly shaken. Alain Bondue, general manager of the Cofidis team, arrived in tears and embraced his riders. The premiums for the race, 11,400 Euros, were given to Kivilev's widow, a decision by the Paris-Nice organizers and the riders, but the race organizers doubled the amount, so that Mrs. Kivilev received over 20,000 Euros after the race when the race organizers visited her in her nearby home.

Kivilev was not wearing a helmet at the time of his fall, and the Cofidis team doctor commented that his injuries would have been lessened had he been.

Official Statements by UCI and Amaury Sports Organization

Death of Cyclist Andrei Kivilev: Declaration by the International Cycling Union:

Deeply shocked by the death of Kazakh rider Andrei Kivilev in the second stage of Paris-Nice, the International Cycling Union (UCI) would like to extend its sincere condolences to the family of the athlete, whose lives have been devastated by this tragic accident, and also its sympathy to his team and all the participants in the event, on such a sad day for the sport of cycling.

The UCI would like to note that in 1991 a proposal to make the wearing of helmets obligatory was rejected by a large majority of professional riders.

This rule has in fact been applied in all other cycling disciplines, especially those involving young riders. The aim of this policy was to encourage those same riders to continue to wear their helmets once they became professional. Today, the great majority of professional cyclists do wear helmets.

For the benefit of those who claim the right to make up their own minds when it comes to their own personal safety, the UCI has always maintained as a permanent reminder an explicit recommendation to wear a helmet, even during training.

While wearing a helmet can never eliminate all the risks inherent in cycling, the UCI will be taking the initiative in the short term of asking all parties concerned to reconsider this issue.

Press Release of the Paris-Nice Organization: 

The organisers and the officials of the Paris Nice race would like to express their deep sadness to all those who follow the race after the announcement of Cofidis team member Andrei Kivilev’s death after a fall on the road to Saint Etienne.

Regardless of the rapid medical intervention on the scene of the accident and all the efforts made by the paramedics of the race and of the Saint-Chamond hospital as well as the surgeons of the Bellevue hospital in Saint-Etienne, during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, Andrei Kivilev could not be saved, the head trauma and the lesions from which he suffered being irremediable.

Our thoughts go to his sporting family, the Cofidis team, by which he was very appreciated. A cyclist of small stature but of great talent, Andrei Kivilev, 29 years old, was discovered by the public at the 2001 Tour de France where his kindness and his good character charmed everyone.

But our thoughts especially go to his family, his wife Natalia and his young son Léonard born last September; as well as all his friends and fans from Saint-Etienne where he had established himself since his arrival from Kazakhstan. Cruelty of the fate, it is on roads that were familiar to him that Kivilev Andrei found death.

The death of a rider, on his place of work, the road, where he practises his sport, our sport, this admirable task, comes as a real shock. Fate went against him, since the accident does not have any other cause but the dangers of life in the peloton.

But this will put the highlight on the means of protection which are today at the disposal of the riders. They are more effective than ten years ago and they are made to avert similar dramas. And as for the road regulations, there are moments when the civic rules must be put before personal freedom. We think that the officials as much as the sporting authorities will have to concentrate on these facts.

A minute of silence will be observed in memory of Andrei Kivilev at the start of today’s stage in the Puy-en-Velay. It goes without saying that the directors and the staff of Amaury Sport Organization and Paris-Nice will be at his side all the way.

Comments by the Cycling Community

David Rebellin (Gerolsteiner): "Paris-Nice has passed appropriately today, according to plan in light of the tragedy of Andrei Kivilev. Tomorrow we will ride again because the race must go forward, but pain will prevail."

Touched by the death of Kivilev, David Rebellin has refused to comment on his race leadership. "The group has lost another fellow ready to suffer and to rejoice and this is bad, said the Gerolsteiner team captain. "Most of all, and I speak for the entire group, I feel for Andrei's son, born just six months ago, to be deprived by the fate of the road of an honest father."

Laurent Fignon: "There are a thousand dangerous things during a race, a thousand motions that can cause a fall. But is not necessary to look for other causes than misfortune."

Nico Mattan (Cofidis): "We lost a friend, a team colleague and absolutely kind human. I simply cannot understand it. We lost a terrific guy.

"We had thought, in the beginning, to spend today's race in our team camper, but Andrei was a pro. The best way to pay him homage was to do the stage on the bicycle and to ride with others."

Jean Marie LeBlanc (Amaury Sports Organization): "The riders came to us today and immediately proposed, as in 1995 with the deadly Tour accident of Fabio Casartelli, to use the day to express their respect for Andrei Kivilev with a quiet trip. It was done in a very worthy, kind and fitting way, and I would like to thank them. Today was very emotional. That shows, the very high regard Andrei enjoyed."

Vincent Lavenu (AG2R): "It is terrible. Andrei was a rider that I knew well, he was one year with us. He died a few kilometers from  home. When I saw him on the road, in this position, that was very troubling. He was an adorable boy, he lived for his profession. It shows the risks that bicyclists take. They have a difficult profession.

Frank Vandenbroucke (Quickstep): "We had ridden together with Andrei, this winter, when I had gone on the French Riviera. Of falls, there are about hundred during the year. I didn't think that it was as serious. It is a terrifying accident. I think about his family."

Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom): "I continue to ride in honours of Andrei. He would not have wanted that I drop out. We two had much more than only a loyal relationship. We both have started our careers almost at the same time. Also both our the families had a close friendly relationship. I will continue. For him I now want to win the race. If not, at least a stage."

French sport Minister Jean Francois Lamour: "Andrei Kivilev was an outstanding representative of cycle racing. I think of his family and his crew."

Paris-Nice resumes tomorrow with Stage 4 and the Daily Peloton's live coverage of the race will continue also.

Thanks to Kataweb, UCI, ASO, L'Equipe, Ciclismo Datasport, Velo 101, Radsport, Telekom.

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