Alexander Vinokourov's son victorious in Japan: "If I make a mistake, he taps me for it faster than anyone else because he knows I could have done better"

In the busy racing period at the end of May, the Japanese national tour has probably not caught the attention of many cycling fans, however the name of the winner of fifth stage - Nicolas Vinokurov - might ring few bells. Yes, the young Astana Qazaqstan rider in question is on of the two sons of Kazakhstan's legend Alexander Vinokourov.

Riding the Tour of Japan (2.1) with the Kazakh team's development formation, the 21-year-old Nico was on the attack with teammate Davide Toneatti and was able to take the stage with a late attack. Perhaps even more impressive was his ride on Friday's queen stage with brutal ascent of Mt. Fuji (11.7km a 10.1%) where Vinokurov arrived 5th against the best climbers in all of Asia.

The action overseas didn't escape WielerFlits' attention who interviewed the young Kazakh, who was born and grew up in France and Monaco. "People who think I only got a contract because of my father, they don't look at the results," Nico makes a statement to the bad mouths. "I can't do anything for them. I will have to keep proving myself, to deal with that criticism."

His father, despite being a great cyclist, had from a good reputation. Nico doesn't seem to be bothered by this as he aims to makes a name for himself in the peloton. "He was a pro in a different era. Times have changed, there are a lot more doping checks. But my father knows a lot about the sport and always tries to help me. Sometimes he can be very strict. If I make a mistake, he taps me for it faster than anyone else. Because he knows I could have done better. But at other times he is also very kind, you know," he laughs,

"The best advice he gave me? That is 'don't stress' and try not to feel the pressure. I am the type of person who sometimes likes to put a lot of pressure on himself before the start of a course. Whereas he is more of 'relax, see if you feel good first and then maybe you can go for a result. If things are not going so well, then you can work for the team. You still have all the options.' That's a good mindset."

What kind of rider is Nicolas Vinokurov? "I would describe myself as a puncheur. I don't ride badly uphill, but I can especially handle medium climbs. 5 kilometres at 6% is perfect for me. Then at the end I often have a good sprint in my legs. Someone like Philippe Gilbert, so to speak. He also had a very good punch. By the way, I know him a bit, we've gone cycling together a few times in Monaco."

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