Kanstantsin Sivtsov Wins Stage 8 of the 2009 Giro d'Italia
Team Columbia-Highroad's Kanstantsin Sivtsov powered to the most important victory of his professional career on Saturday when he took a lone win in stage eight of the Giro d’Italia.
Sivtsov’s victory at the end of the 208 kilometre stage from Morbegno to Bergamo came just 24 hours after Columbia-Highroad’s Edvald Boasson Hagen’s win in the same race.
On Saturday, Boasson Hagen was present in the thick of the action again, leading in the bunch behind Sivtsov for second place. A third Columbia-Highroad rider, three-times World Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers, finished fourth.
In a spectacularly successful start to the 2009 Giro d’Italia Team Columbia-Highroad have now taken three stages, led the event for another three, and have two riders, Thomas Lovkvist and Michael Rogers, in second and third place overall. All this in just eight days of racing.
Lovkvist is also leading in the Best Young Rider’s competition, Team Columbia-Highroad is in the number one spot in the Teams competition, and Boasson Hagen is second overall in the points classification.
A former U-23 World Champion in 2004, Sivtsov said that on a personal level, Saturday’s victory was even more important for him than taking the World’s title.
“I think this is the best win of my career, better than the World’s and better than my victory in the Tour of Georgia last year, too. Both of those are great races to win, but here, for the first time, I won with my wife watching me. I got to hug her afterwards and that made it the best win of my career so far.”
Local knowledge had helped the rider born in Bylorussia, but who has moved to Italy.
”I know the roads because I’ve lived here for a few years. I knew the last 15 kilometres and attacked at the right moment. When [rival Stefano] Garzelli [of Italy] won here in another race, he proved that whoever gets over the top of the final climb [close to today’s stage finish] with a few seconds advantage can win. [Sports director Valerio] Piva told me I had 20 seconds on the bunch at the top, so I took it steady on the descent and stayed away to win.”
Analysing Columbia’s high level of success in the Tour of Italy, Sivtsov said, “we’ve got a strong, well-rounded team and all the riders get the chance to ride for themselves and do something: Mark [Cavendish] in the sprint, Thomas [Lovkvist] and Michael [Rogers] overall, and Edvald [Boasson Hagen] in stages like yesterday. Today I won, but perhaps another of my team-mates will win again later in the race.”
“The guys were particularly motivated to do well in Bergamo because a few of them live near here,” added team manager Bob Stapleton. “Sivtsov lives just outside the town and his wife was at the finish. They’re expecting a baby in a few months as well, so it was a nice reward for him.”
Looking forward to Sunday’s stage of the Tour of Italy, Stapleton was optimistic about a chances of a third straight victory for Columbia-Highroad – this time, with Mark Cavendish.
“We hope that Mark can come out to play tomorrow, and shows again that he’s the fastest sprinter in the world. The course suits him for sure and we’ll try to win another stage and keep the run of success going.”
Asked how he explained such an extra-ordinary run of victories, Stapleton said “The guys learned how to win together last year and our goal this year was to be competitive in all the big races. We showed it by winning Milan-San Remo, we’ve been good throughout the Classics and we’ve been competitive in all the major races. In the Grand Tours the eyes of the world are on cycling and for the future of the team we need to show we can do well here and well in the 2009 Tour de France, too.”