The world and European 2011 rankings have determined qualification for the London Olympics, with those countries ranked 1-10th in the World Tour allowed to send the maximum number of five. Those ranked 11-15th are permitted to send four cyclists.
This year, only four Belarusians have performed in the planet’s strongest teams: Konstantin Sivtsov (High Road, the USA), Vasily Kirienko (Movistar, Spain), Bronislav Samoilov (Movistar, Spain), and Alexander Kuchinsky (Katyusha, Russia). They began the season well; by summer, our country was ranked 16th worldwide. However, a lack of further achievements sent us to 21st place (with 86 points).
Pro Tour and continental events count towards qualification, and second division EuroTour races are also considered. La Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) sprint cyclist Yevgeny Gutarovich is the only Belarusian athlete to have represented Belarus in the EuroTour this year. Despite suffering from appendicitis and needing to take a long break, he claimed prizes in several races and improved both his personal EuroTour rating (2nd place behind Italian Giovanni Visconti — from Farnese) and his La Francaise des Jeux position (European club ranking of 1st place). The continental cycling ranking of Belarus has also been positively influenced by Yevgeny Gutarovich and our country is now placed 12th.
Five national teams have secured their participation in the 2012 Olympics following their excellent results in world cycling events, while Belarus is among the six European states having acquired three places in the group race at the Olympics.
Yevgeny Gutarovich’s 2nd place in the individual EuroTour rankings has given him a position in the separate start race in London, alongside 39 other cyclists. Yevgeny, turning 28 on November 29th, has accomplished a great deal on his own, securing four Olympic tickets to the London Games for the national Belarusian team.