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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,