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Astana’s De Vreese on releasing rap video: ‘Real gangster style’

The Kazakhstan-based squad has some fun off the bike and puts together a rap video.

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ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — Just call him the Snoop Dogg of the peloton.

Laurens De Vreese, a working man’s hero on Team Astana, was the mastermind behind the team’s rap video that dropped this week. Part spoof, part pet project, the “First Ever Pro Cycling Rap” is quite unlike anything that’s ever been seen in the peloton.

The video features De Vreese and other Astana team members, along with manager Alexander Vinokourov, knocking out some rhymes that are, well, cycling centric.

“I am a big fan of rap. I like every kind of rap,” De Vreese told VeloNews. “I thought it was a good idea to do something funny and show to the world that cycling doesn’t need to be so serious all the time.”

So how did it come about? De Vreese, who is always chilling with rap songs before and after racing, starting toying with the idea of creating some sort of team-oriented rap song last year.

Inspired in part by GreenEdge’s video spoof of “Call Me Maybe” as part of its BackStage Pass series back in 2012, De Vreese took pen to paper to try to pull together some cycling-inspired rhymes.

“We wanted to do something as professional as we could,” he said. “We had a good video producer and good people inside our team. It was funny. I made some lyrics and some other people helped. It’s a mix of a few riders. Everybody took part.”

It leads with De Vreese, rapping about Astana blue. Jakob Fulgsang and Omar Fraile get into the act. The collection of skinny guys in Lycra does its collective best to look gangsta. Even Vinokourov throws down some rhymes.

“Rappers, they are like gangsters and mafia world, so I wanted to do something like that style,” he said. “So I said to the whole staff, we need to take Vino with us and do it in real gangster style.”

The squad recorded the video during a team camp in Spain, and then pulled together the production with editing over the past few weeks. De Vreese went to bed overnight in Australia when it was released on social media.

“I knew they wanted to release it in the European time in the afternoon and it was nighttime in Australia. When I woke up, there were 83 messages waiting for me. I thought, ‘Oh my God, what is happening now,’” he said. “I know that social media is more and more important. I thought it was time to do something funny again. I am very happy and very proud.”

De Vreese said he’s not ready to give up his day job. Rapping is a passion, but cycling is how he earns his paycheck. He said it was a fun project designed to have some laughs with fans and lighten Astana’s sometimes-opaque public image.

“It was just to make some fun, and to show to the world that it is not always about cycling,” he said. “Everyone is always so professional and so focused on the job, and cycling is more stressful day by day. If the fans want to see some more, we can do it.”

With lyrics like this — “We are not from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, we are from … Kazakhstan!” — who can’t wait to see the sequel?

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