It was a great opening weekend in the Flemish cycling year, but for many people the beauty of the sport is currently being overshadowed by the ugliness of the war in Ukraine. It’s a sentiment that Johann Museo shares after a phone call from an old acquaintance.
Museeuw received a phone call from Andrei Tchmil, 59, on Sunday afternoon. In a Facebook video, Museeuw recounts what Tchmil said.
Andre told me, “We used to have a lot of wars on bicycles, but now I’m in the middle of a war. I live in the border area, 100 kilometers from where the fighting is. And they are moving.”
“(Tchmil) said he sent his wife and one-year-old son to Romania to protect them, but he himself will stay there. I will fight and I will defend that.”
Museeuw does not say whether Tchmil means he wants to defend his home and property or actively participate in combat, but Tchmil certainly takes the worst into account.
“Gohan, I wanted to hear from you again. I don’t know if I’ll be there tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I hope so, but I’ll give you a big kiss.”
Museuw admire. “As a person my age, this keeps you calm for a while. I’ve been in contact with Andre for the last years and then he calls you now and Johan says, I’ll give you three kisses, because I don’t know if I’ll be there tomorrow, then your hair will stand on your arms.”
“I hope this nonsense stops there. Andrei, thanks for the call. And I really hope from the bottom of my heart that we can keep calling each other.”
Andrei Chmel was born in the Soviet Union. Previously, he held Russian, Moldovan and Ukrainian citizenships. At the end of the 90s, he received Belgian citizenship.
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