In Memoriam: Andrei Kivilev

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03/16/2003| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill

In Memoriam: Andrei Kivilev

Andrei Kivilev (Cofidis) died after suffering a fractured skull in a crash in Stage 2 of Paris-Nice.

Andrei Kivilev (Cofidis) died after suffering a fractured skull in a crash in Stage 2 of Paris-Nice. The Kazakh turned professional with Festina in 1998. He rode for Ag2r in 2000 and then transferred to Cofidis in 2001. During his five-year career, Kivilev won two races: Stage 5 of the 2001 Dauphine Libere and the 2001 Route du Sud. Perhaps his greatest achievement was his fourth place finish in the 2001 Tour de France. In addition, Kivilev finished third in the 2002 Route du Sud, fourth in that year's Clasica San Sebastian and Paris-Nice, and fifth in the 2001 and 2002 Dauphine Libere.

Kivilev will be remembered as an aggressive rider, one who could always be seen at the front when the road turned skyward. Lance Armstrong's tribute to the Kazakh on said, "I loved to race with him because you knew when he was in the race, and when the road went uphill, he would lay it all out. Man, was he an attacker!" Kivilev's best performances seemed to come in the hardest races, such as the Tour de France and the Route du Sud.

Kivilev is remembered as a man for whom cycling was a passion. Laurent Biondi, Kivilev's directeur sportif at Ag2r, said, "Andrei was someone who was a real perfectionist with his equipment and his training. His way was to always try to be the best possible rider in whatever he did concerning the sport." Kivilev's teammate Chris Peers called the Kazakh "a serious professional, a very responsible rider." Kivilev impressed everyone with his preparation and his zeal.

Kivilev is remembered as a nice person and as a family man. Australian race promoter Phill Bates called the Kazakh "a thorough gentleman" and "a great champion and a wonderful person." Alexander Vinokourov described Kivilev as a close friend and dedicated his effort in Paris-Nice to his countryman. Laurent Biondi remembered Kivilev as "a guy who was always smiling and very nice...he was easy to work with and we were sorry to see him leave our team." Chris Peers said that Kivilev was "...very much a family man who is leaving behind a lovely wife and a six-month-old baby son."

Peers's words should probably be the last on Kivilev. The Kazakh rider leaves behind a wife and a six-month-old son who will not know his father. Rest in peace, Andrei Kivilev.  


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