To the fore at Giro d’Italia
By Kirill Karin
The triumphant win went to Spanish Alberto Contador for the second time, whose advantage was obvious long before the finish. The thrown was occupied, with only the nearest seats to be shuffled.
The race was a bright event for our Belarusian cyclists. Konstantin Sivtsov (High Road captain for the first time) reached the top ten in the general classification — a record for Belarusian cyclists. However, his path was not smooth. He came second after the first mountains but then dropped out of the top ten until his determination in the closing rounds, coupled with his sporting skills and strength, returned him there.
Vasily Kirienko, cycling for Movistar team, captured the brightest victory for Belarus in the last but one Giro round, finishing a full four minutes ahead of his nearest rival. His persistence during the hardest 15th round saved him from falling below 25th position: his best personal achievement in the general standings. His efforts caused a sensation.
Kirienko’s team mate, Bronislav Samoilov, is yet to show himself ready for multi-day races, his mountaineering capabilities being episodic. More stability could push him not only into week-long races but into Grand Tours.
Alexander Kuchinsky was less outstanding in Italy. During the flat and hilly stages, he was fit only to defend the captain of his team, Katyusha, from the wind and other undesirable circumstances. Only once did he have the chance to break away from the rest but, again, only for the sake of the squad.
Meanwhile, the Belarusian national team has climbed up from 23rd to 17th position in the world rankings — as released by the International Cycling Union. After success in the Giro d’Italia, Belarus has 66 points, rising six places. Those in the final top 20, based on the results of 2011, will be able to send a maximum of five cyclists to the 2012 London Olympics.