Team Telekom Pinarello Prince LS

In the world of professional cycling, there are heroes, legends, and then there’s Alexander “Vino” Vinokourov – a man who rode through the peloton with all the grace of a bull in a china shop, leaving a trail of raised eyebrows in his wake.

His career was like a rollercoaster, with more twists and turns than a mystery novel set in a funhouse. So when the chance came up to acquire his Campagnolo-equipped 2002 Team Telekom Pinarello Prince LS for our Flandrien Hotel collection, we just had go for it.

Let’s start with Vino’s stint at German powerhouse Team Telekom, which was a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy, but with a dash of slapstick comedy. In those days, doping scandals were as common as discarded energy gel packets, and Vinokourov had his fair share of run-ins with the doping authorities.

During his time at Telekom, Vino was caught up in a doping scandal that would make Lance Armstrong blush. In 2007, he was banned for two years after testing positive for blood doping during the Tour de France.

But did he retreat into the shadows, hang his head in shame, and quietly serve his suspension? Oh no, not Vino. He chose to come back with a bang, and by “bang” I mean winning an Olympic gold medal in 2012.

Then there was his penchant for unpredictability. One minute, he’d be leading a breakaway with the finesse of a prima ballerina, and the next, he’d be attempting a wheelie while chomping on a baguette.

Vinokourov’s idea of a good time was to inject a healthy dose of chaos into the otherwise orderly world of professional cycling.

But let’s not forget the sheer entertainment value he brought to the sport. When Vino pedalled onto the scene, you knew you were in for a wild ride. He was cycling’s answer to the jester, providing the laughs even when the doping scandals made you want to cry.

In the end, Alexander Vinokourov has been a one-of-a-kind character in the world of professional cycling. His career has been a carnival of chaos, a sideshow of scandal, and a comedy of errors all rolled into one. Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him.

In a sport where the line between hero and villain can be razor-thin, Vino has managed to straddle it with a grin and a shrug, leaving us all scratching our heads in disbelief.

Cheers to you, Vino, for giving us a career that has been truly pedal-powered pandemonium!