Alexandre Vinokourov's Olympic-winning bike sells for $243,000

Money raised from auction will be used to help seriously ill children

by Simon_MacMichael   September 18, 2012  

Alexandre Vinokourov Specialized Tarmac SL4

Olympic road race champion Alexandre Vinokourov has raised around a quarter of a million dollars for charity after auctioning the red Specialized bike he rode to victory and a gold medal on The Mall in London in July.

The money, raised through the bike’s sale at auction on Sunday, is expected to go to charities treating seriously ill children, reports the Kazakh website, Tengrinews.kz.

The bike sold for $243,000, nearly five times the starting bid amount of $50,000. It was bought by Tak Group, which Tengrnews says is a charitable organisation involved in sport, tourism, the arts and cultural projects.

While $243,000 is undoubtedly a lot of money to pay for a bicycle, even an Olympic gold medal winning one - it is still less than half the amount paid for the world's most expensive bike - the Damien Hirst Butterfly Bike - a top of the line Trek Madone ridden by Lance Armstrong in the final stage of the 2009 Tour de France which sold for $500,000 at auction. Hirst decorated the bike with real butterfly wings - hence the name.

Like all bikes ridden by Specialized riders at the Olympics, irrespective of nationality, Vinokourov's - an S-Works Tarmac SL4 - was painted bright red, giving the brand a highly visible presence in the peloton despite strict Olympic rules on branding.

The Kazakh rider also wore a matching helmet, providing a rather striking contrast with his turquoise and gold national kit.

Vinokourov’s London 2012 kit was sold for $10,000, while kit worn by another cyclist from the Astana team, which the Olympic champion remains involved with despite his retirement from racing, raised $2,500.

The website didn't specify whether that last item was team or Olympic kit - and in the case of Astana and Kazakhstan, the two are identical at first glance - but only one other rider represented the country in the men's road race, Assan Bazayev, and he also rides for Astana.

“The bicycle brought good luck to me and I can now support the young citizens of Kazakhstan who are having a difficult time at present by selling this bicycle,” said Vinokourov.

“I hope that some of them will become champions, not necessarily in sport, but in their own lives. They should be strong in spirit and fight to the end! And in this case they will win,” he added.

Vino's Specialized Tarmac SL4

Vinokourov rode a 52cm Specialized Tarmac SL4, which like all of Specialized's sponsored athletes was painted red. The IOC have very strict rules about branding on products used in the Olympics and Specialized's rather cunning solution to this marketing problem was to paint their bikes red.

Vino's team Astana are sponsored by Corima and his bike was fitted with an Aero+ MCC rear wheel and Carbon Viva S front carbon tubular wheelset  (not the Aero+ front wheel pictured here). A rare sight in the peloton, Corima's flagship wheels are built with a full carbon fibre construction which include the rim, hubs and spokes. Such a wheelset weigha in the region of 1100g, which surely helped on the nine ascents of Box Hill.

SRAM supplied their top-tier RED groupset with Specialized fitting their own carbon cranks. FSA one-piece handlebars and stem and a matching seatpost and Selle Italia Flite and Tacx cages completed the build. Vino also used an SRM power meter in the Olympic road race, which isn't pictured here.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

'“I hope that some of them will become champions, not necessarily in sport, but in their own lives. They should be strong in spirit and fight to the end! And in this case they will win,” he added.'

...but if you've had a bad day, nip off to a dodgy doctor and have your blood topped up?

I hope the money gets to where it's needed but I can't help thinking that sending the bike to the crushers would have been better.

Exercising my rights by taking them cycling

posted by pedalingparamedic [88 posts]
18th September 2012 - 10:12

2 Likes

Atonement?

Incidentally, did he have a job as an actor when not charging himself up?!

Ashley from Corrie:

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3424 posts]
18th September 2012 - 12:16

1 Like

It was sold *for* charity but was bought *by* a charity?
Thinking

Sounds like a very Vinokourovian situation.
Its a bit like replacing all your own blood with that of someone else.
A bit.

posted by Some Fella [815 posts]
18th September 2012 - 13:23

5 Likes

pedalingparamedic wrote:

I hope the money gets to where it's needed but I can't help thinking that sending the bike to the crushers would have been better.

Better than helping sick kids in Kazakhstan? (Average monthly salary: £89.67).

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
18th September 2012 - 14:20

2 Likes

I'm glad I didn't buy that Butterfly bike now, can't see much return on that investment Big Grin

posted by Nick T [838 posts]
19th September 2012 - 8:40

2 Likes

Some Fella: I like 'Vinokourovian' as a word. Can I use it please? It could have several definitions:

1. To fly under the radar all year and win nothing until rising like a Phoenix to win the big prize.
2. To project oneself as a cultural and sporting demi-god in a land of limited exposure to the outside world.
3. of little remorse or contrition.

I can only assume the frame of the bike is full of quality performance enhancing drugs to raise that much? The more I read about Kazakhstan the more I realise how accurate Sacha Baron Cohen was.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [564 posts]
19th September 2012 - 8:52

3 Likes

arrieredupeleton wrote:
Some Fella: I like 'Vinokourovian' as a word. Can I use it please?

Feel free. Although i do think there may have been species in Star Trek Voyager with the same name.

posted by Some Fella [815 posts]
19th September 2012 - 9:21

2 Likes

Some Fella wrote:

Feel free. Although i do think there may have been species in Star Trek Voyager with the same name.

That explains a lot...

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3424 posts]
19th September 2012 - 9:38

2 Likes

$243k? Isn't that how much he 'donated' to Kolobnev for Liege 2010?

posted by weezer_j [9 posts]
20th September 2012 - 11:14

3 Likes