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Former rival Andrei Tchmil called Johan Museeuw about Russian invasion of Ukraine

The former winner of the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo lives in Moldova

Photo by: The World of Cycling @twocGAME

Correction: According to a report in La Parisien, Andrei Tchmil, the former Belgian champion mistranslated his words as they were speaking in Italian. “I called him and told him we both went to war when we were riders. But the real war is the one happening in Ukraine. An error of understanding at the base of a misunderstanding of a few days.” Tchmil was clear that he did not blame his former rival for the misinterpretation and that it was unintentional.

The former president of the Moldovan Cycling Federation,  said he does not want to be involved in the conflict. He lives in Chișinău, the capital of Moldova, he now leads a relatively peaceful life “I am a man of peace who lives in a neutral country, why do you want me to decide to take up arms?” he said.

The article goes on to say that even if Tchmil will not fight, contrary to what was originally posted, the Moldovan very concerned for both countries. “I have friends in both Russia and also in Ukraine. And everyone I’ve been able to call is very sad about what’s going on. I would like to see a dialogue.”

On Tchmil’s Facebook page, he also said that Museeuw’s words were full of concern, and and it came from a  fear for the fate of what’s occurring now.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world and affected thousands of people in the region, including Andrei Tchmil, former rival of Johan Museeuw according to both the Belgian’s Instagram  and Het Nieuwsblad.

Museeuw and Tchmil both duked it out against each other in the classics in the ‘90s. Tchmil, who comes from the former Soviet Union, arrived in Belgium during his professional career and would eventually  become a  citizen of that country. Before that, he also rode for Moldova and Ukraine. Tchmil rode for Lotto from 1994 to 2002, winning three monuments, Paris-Roubaix (1994), Milan-San Remo (1999) and the Tour of Flanders (2000).

In a video posted on Instagram, an emotional Museeuw spoke about the phone call. “I just looked up in silence,” he said. “After the two beautiful races this past weekend, I received a call from Andrei Tchmil, the man with whom I used to fight many duels in races. He told me we used to fight a lot of wars on the bike, but now I’m in the middle of a war.”

“I live on the border area, 100 KM from where there is fighting,” Tchmil told Museeuw. “This morning I sent my wife and our 1-year-old son away to Romania to protect them. I myself am going to stay here. I’m going to fight. I just wanted to hear you, Johan. I don’t know if I’m going to be there tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I hope so, but I’ll give you a big kiss.”

“At my age, this gives you pause,” the former world champion explained. “Everything else is an afterthought. We’re just coming out of a difficult period of COVID-19 and we’re sitting there with those people there, who are in a period of fighting.

“I have been in contact with Andrei in recent years and then he called me and said Johan, I give you three kisses, because I don’t know if I’ll be there tomorrow. Then the hair on your arms will stand up. I hope that nonsense stops there. I said, thanks for the phone call. And I really hope from the bottom of my heart that we can continue to call each other.”