My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Kristoff takes third victory of 2017 season

Category: Cycling

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) is having a spectacular start of the season. He has now clocking up three victories, as he claimed his second stage win of the Tour of Oman today.

“The plan all day was to try to manage on the climb as best as possible, and then try to come back in the last five kilometres because the road was flat. The tactic from us was for the whole team to stay around me,” Kristoff said. “At the end, if it’s a big group ahead they won’t always work too well together. They might look at each other and that way we had a chance to come back. Everything worked out perfectly for us, because we also had a headwind on the hardest part of the climb today. A lot of factors went our way.”

He took the victory ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).

In seven days, it is time for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Kristoff downplays his chances of winning, and instead suggested that new signings Baptiste Planckaert and Tony Martin might lead the Katusha challenge.

“In Omloop I’m never good,” he said. “We have Baptiste, who has this as a main target. Ok, if I’m there at the end, he can do a lead-out for me, but until that point, he can do what he wants.”

Five days in Málaga

Category: Cycling

I am on a vacation in southern Spain. A few days ago we traveled to Gibraltar, and when driving home I saw a truck with the Movistar team's logo. I didn't think more about it, perhaps the truck was just parked there.

But then yesterday we rented two bikes and followed the coast. After 23 km we decided to turn around. All by a sudden I saw the Lotto-Soudal's team bus, and next to it stood Cannondale's truck. 

We came back to the "apartment" and I soon found out that the Vuelta a Andalucia would start today in a village called Rincon de la Victoria, 17 km from Málaga, and funny enough we had been there during our little bike tour.

I didn't return today to see the start of the race, because we had other plans and I could not figure out when the stage would start. Still fun to know why I saw the trucks and buses. 

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Dmytro Grabovskyy dies

Category: Cycling

Dmytro GrabovskyyIt is always sad when people pass away. And it's truly chocking when people your own age dies.

A few minutes ago, I read that former under 23 world road race champion Dmytro Grabovskyy has died following a heart attack. He was only 31 years of age.

Grabovskyy won the under 23 men’s road race at the 2005 World Championships. He also became European champion in the time trial discipline that year.

In 2007, he signed with Quick-Step-Innergetic, and two years later he moved to the ISD-Neri team, and rode for them for two years.

However, his pro career was not as successful as his under-23 stint.

He started drinking because of boredom, and came close to killing himself on two occasions.

“After some disappointments with Quick Step I ended up on the wrong path,” he told La Gazzetta Dello Sport in 2011. “I was bored and went after training to the coast to party and to drink. I twice escaped death by alcohol poisoning. But I drank vodka and never used drugs.”

“This turbulent period is over…my life is rehabilitated. Now there’s only water in my refrigerator.”

At the 2010 Tirreno-Adriatico, he finished first in the mountains classification and it seemed like maybe he was back on track. Sadly a serious accident a few months later put an end to his season.

In 2011, he dropped down to Continental level with the ISD-Lampre squad, and he retired at the end of the year.

Lately, he has been working with Giant bicycles and has been racing in Israel in 2016.