The most noticeable greatest cyclist of all time in recent years, the Russian cyclist Denis Mincho, the winner of the “Volta Spain 2005” and one of the heroes of the recent super race “Tour de France”, lives and trains in Spain. However, he truly loves only his homeland – the small Russian city of Oriole.
Classics and contemporaries
By the number of historical celebrities, the Eagle will give odds to many capitals. Especially lucky Russian literature. You walk along the smarting streets (this coming Sunday, the Eagle will mark the 440th anniversary) and, as if reading a school textbook: Turgenev, Leskov, Andreev, Fet, Bunin, Tyutchev, Prishvin. And this is only a small part of the great writers associated with this region. On the wall of the hotel “Rus” is a memorial plaque: “Here was the house in which Anna Petrovna Kern was born.” Yes, the lines “I remember a wonderful moment …” Pushkin devoted his daughter to the Oryol governor. The greatest cyclist of all time monuments to Sergei Yesenin on the square near the pedagogical university appeared thanks to another famous woman – the first wife of the poet Zinaida Reich was growing up in Orel.
Early in the morning, I drive along the deserted Moskovskaya Street to a living classic. Not literature – road racing. Taxi driver sympathetically interested in the purpose of arrival. Hearing the name of Menshov nods knowingly:
BUT! We know, we know. He seems to have won some very important race … We had newspapers writing here, and there were plots on TV … Was he now in Orel?
For two days I conducted a case study asking about random people about Menshov (from an ice cream maker to four newlyweds). And he was completely overwhelmed with the result: out of 37 people, 35 knew Denis! Most of them vaguely imagined in which professional team and on which European roads a fellow countryman was winning, but they all knew without exception: the famous cyclist Menchov was born in Orel, and here he first began to pedal.
Where else is the population just as “savvy” in cycling that is absolutely not rated for Russia?! Beginner cycling bikes: How to start a novice cyclist?
What is Europe?
At the appointed time, I stand on the Lenin Square sun-drenched. Denis drives upon an old “Range Rover.” In the back seat, surrounded by shopping bags, is a three-year-old son.
“This is Ivan, he is three years old,” Menshov introduces us. “We’ll go to see me before noon.” And tomorrow I invite you to kebabs: we are going to my dacha, my first trainer, Alexey Afonin, in my every visit. By the way, you will meet him today – a very interesting person … The
House in which Menchov bought an apartment two years ago, – a minute drive from the main greatest cyclist of all time square of the city. Coming out of the courtyard through the arch, you find yourself in the most beautiful pedestrian area of the city – on Lenin Street (the former Bolokhovskaya). And what a view from the windows of his two-level apartment! One and a half year old Sasha (the younger son of Denis) meets his father on the threshold and, pointing to the window, asks for his hands.
“The motor ship is buzzing,” explains the wife Nadezhda
Dad picks up his little son to the window, and he, with his little eyes wide open, tries to imitate the whistle of a passing ship – just at the confluence of the Oka and Orlik – a pleasure boat. The spectacle is able to fascinate and adult.
“Sorry for the mess,” Nadezhda smiles. – So much work needs to be redone in a week, we don’t have time for anything, but our men also do not sit in one place.
In confirmation of her mother’s words, Sasha, with a laugh, lashes out at the eldest, and the brothers begin to ride the parquet merrily. And why should they not rejoice: the addition of the Menshov family is also expected. Just like Armstrong, I have time to think, before I find out that this time they are expecting a girl. Hope is already “trying on” her name.
Maybe Ulyana … Day, how are you?
Denis respectfully nods at his wife’s suggestion, but his father’s weighty word is in no hurry to pronounce.
How long have you lived in an apartment? – I ask, looking around the spacious hall.
“The first year,” says Menchov. – This is a question for Nadezhda. I am at home only in the fall for a couple of months, but in the summer for a week I break out, like this time. And the best winter bike experience
And we with children come to Orel before the beginning of the “Tour” and stay here until the end of the “Vuelta”, – the wife joins the conversation. – What do I do in Spain alone with the children? And it’s hot there in the summer.
Do you consider Eagle or Spain your home?
Eagle, of course, – in the soft voice of Menshov the categorical notes. – Here is the birthplace, friends, close people … And what is Europe? Place of work, no more.
“Let us show you the city while there is time,” the hospitable host suggests. Ten minutes later, the children gathered. The sun is shining, but the brothers have sweaters.
“Cold yesterday,” mom complains.
Old Man infected?
“I’m not sick anymore,” Denis says. However, the greatest cyclist of all time a hoarse coughing no-no, yes, it breaks. Bronchitis, which knocked down Menshov Sr. in the third week of Tura, is the main topic of discussion among his friends and relatives. But about this, we still have time to talk, but for now, we are going to the famous arbor “Noble Nest”.
“The symbol of the city,” the Menshovs explain. – Weddings come here. But this gazebo is not good.
Yeah … I do not know what the gazebo looked like four years ago when happy newlyweds Denis and Nadezhda themselves came here, but now countless inscriptions on high white pillars suggest melancholy, melancholy. And this is where the famous Turgenev heroes spent hours of solitude?! Mood rises when we come to the embankment. Here, once again, I am convinced how nicely situated the Menshov House is – tall, slim, like its famous newcomer.
City administration helped buy?
No, – waving Denis. – All for your money. We have only been seeing the last two years with the governor; our bicycle school has recently received a lot of money – 700 thousand rubles. In previous years, this could not dream. And for me personally, I don’t need anything from the authorities. Let the children better help. Alexey Alexandrovitch will tell you about this better. There, by the way, he drives up. Till tomorrow?
“Start-highway” is still on the move.
Denis and Nadezhda are in a hurry to get out of the city – to bargain with the brigade that will build the house on the newly acquired site. And I am transplanted into the old Zhiguli by Alexei Afonin, the first coach of Menshov. We are going to the Luzhki district, where the cycling school is located. And where was born and grew up the strongest Russian racer? The fact that the district is still urban can be guessed only by the rare five-story buildings. If not for them – a typical holiday village.
Afonin (he prefers to be addressed by Sanych) turns off the roadway. “Lada”, which has already found the era of general secretaries, begins to desperately jump on stone potholes.
Greatest track cyclist of all time
Here before our training track was, – says the coach. – Denis traveled here from 11 to 15 years. I found him at the very beginning of the 90s in a nearby school. The fact that he has excellent data was immediately apparent. I am sure: if Denis was engaged in any kind of sport, he would have received the first grade without difficulty. By the way, he went to fight in childhood; the older guys took him to play football without end. And in my first summer the greatest cyclist of all time, he suddenly disappeared. It turns out fishing has begun! He is still “sick” on this topic, and in childhood, he could disappear for days on the river. His grandmother helped me, said: “You are engaged, Denis, with a bicycle – means, do …” He always listened to her.
Oryol bicycle school in the basement of the old Khrushchev resembles a museum more. Where else could children’s models of Start-Highway bicycles produced for the Moscow Olympics be preserved? And here they are still being trained on them.
Here, – shows Alexey Alexandrovich, – on this bike Denis won his first competitions. The machine, by the way, is still on the move.
It is hard to believe that one of the racing kings of our time once sat behind the wheel of this antediluvian clunker. The distance from the Luzhkov potholes to the snow-covered alpine passes is too great. But here they are, hanging on the wall, honorary T-shirts Menchov. White – the best young cyclist “Tour de France”, mined in 2003. Golden – with the last “Vuelta” …
Afonin speaks about the recent “Tour” with undisguised regret.
Terribly unlucky Denis. In the third week, the immunity weakened and bronchitis began. And we advised him even in the fall – take badger fat. He waved his hand – they say that in the “Rabobank” the doctors are literate, they will figure it out for themselves … And the Alps began – he immediately began to breathe through his mouth. And we all understood right away … I caught a cold again! But after all, it was in order, as we say, “at foot”, the Pyrenees drove perfectly … Now, it does not shake away from the advice. God give him health benefits and good luck – in his years there are so many more races ahead!
For the school of Athos, Menshov is simultaneously pride, and hope, and one of the sources of existence.
– Look at these T-shirts, overalls … That’s all Denis brought. Now there would be boys, and at school, there are about 90 people, pedals twisted in trousers and sweaters. With Denis, we are in sight. Pay attention to us. 700 thousand rubles for development from the budget to get! This is when the entire sport in the region is only two million!
Five in French
Afonin again sits behind the wheel: going to Denis’s mom. The son has long been living independently, but his room is still in perfect order: cups for the greatest cyclist of all time are first international victories are neatly arranged on the shelves. The last prize is the 2002 Tour de L’Avenir winner. And a number of serious books and textbooks in foreign languages.
“In the lower grades, Denis was an excellent student,” Tatyana Stepanovna says with pride. – Up to the 4th grade, until the bike took a lot of time, he did not have fours in the certificate. And in French all ten years, only excellent marks. The memory is beautiful – any verses learned by heart in five to ten minutes.
Mom remembers how his son made his way into professionals with a sad smile.
– Beggar because there was time. He first acted in the Russian team CSKA-Lada-Samara, so we sometimes sewed the letters CSKA on the bike himself, from patches … And how he left for Europe! I returned three times – all the papers could not be correctly issued. As a result, he went to Spain to chase a roof over his head, food, and several hundred euro scholarships.
Tatyana Stepanovna started watching the big races live two years ago when she purchased a satellite dish. But the system works intermittently.
– “Tour de France” looked up to half. The 11th stage is over, Denis triumphantly raised his hands at the finish, and … the screen went out. The remaining races to the familiar ran to watch. And immediately understood by the face of Denis that he fell ill. Likewise, a year ago, at the World Championships in Madrid, it was: I went to the start of the “butchering”, I see that there is a blush on my cheeks. I understood everything – my son got sick, the result will be bad.
Best gift for cyclist
On Sunday morning it rains, but it cleared by noon. Big company going to the country to Sanych. Little Sasha was left at home with her mother-in-law, Antonina Alekseevna. Vanya is sitting on the knees of his grandmother Tanya and makes plans – as he will play in the country with his grandchildren Afonina.
“Does he speak Spanish?” – I ask the parents
He understands well, but he is not talking very well. We will drive him to the children’s group in the fall to communicate with our peers more.
On the long table close veranda there is no free space are greatest cyclist of all time. According to tradition, the closest people gather for the “leave” of Denis. They communicate almost like relatives.
– Oh, you are my sick chicken; – Alexey Alexandrovich’s wife embraces the embarrassed cyclist. – Come on, Day, I’ll show you the tomatoes. In Spain, these will not grow. I will collect you on the way.
Denis, who has a plane to Barcelona in the morning, refuses.
Well then, look! To all ate! – threatens his mistress
You cannot persuade. Appetite is the excellent bicycle buyer tips in all. At the table all three hours of talk, toast, memories. Denis, to support the company, allows him champagne, Hope will drive the car home.
Be healthy, Denis, and chase up to forty years, like Ekimov, – wishes Gennady Maslov, one of his oldest fans, a well-known businessman in the field. – Five “Tours” you have already passed. By the age of forty, you will have 18 of them!
Menshov laughs and the toaster suddenly changes his intonation and begins to speak seriously:
I could not even think that I would follow the greatest cyclist of all time like that. And when you won the stage, I had a lump in my throat. Someone is calling, but I can’t talk – a tear in my voice…
– Well, Denis, in the overall standings of the “Tour” you are already the fifth … – Afonin begins his toast, and I find myself thinking that Menshov and I didn’t really talk about the doping scandal with Floyd Landis. In the circle of relatives and friends, he does not want to think about work. Denis’s reticence does not cause questions at our table: here people who know a lot about this crazy, for real sufferers, work.
Everyone understood about Landis…
Already on the way to the greatest cyclist of all time in Moscow, he would say that everyone said about the strange victory of the American in the Tura turret:
“A man cannot walk for three hours in such a crazy breakaway.” And this after the day before failed! Almost no one believed in the purity of Landis. We already understood everything then…
The car carries us to the capital. On Monday morning, Menshov flies off to Spain, where in a couple of weeks he will start on the Vuelta San Sebastian, and in September he will defend the title of king of the famous Spanish stage race Vuelta. I look at his detached face and understand: only when he returns home, albeit briefly, home, does he truly rest. With this city, they have mutual love. Here he draws strength that helps to storm the breathtaking passes – through deadly fatigue, through pain, through “I cannot.”
Eaglet more than once soars above all in the world. And then come back. To yourself in the birth nest.