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91st Giro d'Italia - Team Preview: Tinkoff Credit Systems
 
By Bart Hazen
Date: 5/14/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Team Preview: Tinkoff Credit Systems
 

91st Giro d'Italia - Team Preview: Tinkoff Credit Systems
The Bankers squad is back to animate the the Giro as they did last year. Team goals: to support Evgeni Petrov to improve on his 7th place on the G.C. and hunt stage wins... and the team is off to a good start.

Last year if you had to pick a team that animated the race in the long early breaks or the final kilometer attacks it would have been Tinkoff Credit Systems. So much so, the Trofeo Fuga Gilera awarded for the most minutes in breaks, and the trofeo Garibaldi (intermediate sprints) were won by Mikail Ignatiev.
(Editor's note: This report was written the day before Pavel Brutt was part of a 5 man breakaway and won stage 5.)


Off to a good start at the 2008 Giro d'Italia: Tinkoff's Pavel Brutt wins stage 5 in the Giro today. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Tinkoff Credit Systems kicked off its 2008 Giro d'Italia campaign with Evgeni Petrov looking to improve his general classification position from last year's 7th place, along with stage wins from sprinter Alberto Loddo, who returns to the Giro since his last participation in the event in 2006.

Tinkoff Credit Systems Team an introduction:

The team captain of the Tinkoff Credit Systems will be last year’s 7th on the G.C. - Russian Evgeni Petrov. Petrov will lead an all Russian team except of the two Italians Alberto Loddo and Luca Mazzanti. Petrov is 29 years old of age and is a former U23 World Champion both in the road race and time-trial. In 2001 he turned pro with Mapei.

He's also ridden for Ibanesto, Saeco and Lampre before joining Tinkoff in 2007. During the 2005 Tour de France Petrov was sidelined for a while after his hematocrit was too high. He was not allowed to start in the 10th stage. Petrov participated three times in the Tour and his best result was 38th in 2004. 2002 was his best year as a pro; winning the Duo Normand, a stage in Slovenia, the final ranking of the Tour of Slovenia, national time-trial champion and the final win in the Tour de L’Avenir. His first season with Tinkoff was really good with lots of top 10 ranks: 5th in the Mediterranean, 3rd in Lugano, 8th in the Tirreno, 2nd in the national TT championships and of course 7th overall in the Giro D’Italia.


Tour de Langkawi 2008 stage 5: Alberto Lodo celebrates! 
Photo © 2008 Action Images

The sprinter of the team is Alberto Loddo. The 29 year old is a rider for the early season. His career wins are almost all races held in January or February. He won three stages in Qatar, and once the overall ranking (2003); he also won 5 stages in Langkawi last year. Loddo turned pro with Lampre in 2002. In 2004 he rode for Saunier Duval. In 2005 he went back to the Elite-2 before rejoining the pro’s with Selle-Italia in 2006. Since the beginning of 2008 he is riding for Tinkoff. He has won once in 2008 as he won the 3rd stage in the Tour of Qatar.

Another rider to watch for is Italian Luca Mazzanti. Mazzanti is 34 years old of age and the oldest rider of the Tinkoff team. Luca has always been strong with lots of top10 finishes in his career; he has several victories, too mention a few hightlights: GP Fourmies, GP di Lugano, GP Industria & Artigianato and a stage in the Ster Elektro Toer, Settimana Coppi & Bartali and Giro del Trentino. But his most important win came in 2005 when he won the 4th stage in the Giro D’Italia. Mazzanti is a rider who can do well in the hills and middle mountain stages and can do a fast time trial.

The Giro team is completed by the Russians Alexandre Serov, Nikolai Trussov, Sergey Klimov, Vasil Kiryenka, Pavel Brutt and Mikhail Ignatiev. Almost all of these Russians have a background on the track.

Alexandre Serov is a 25 year old rider who had it’s great successes thus far on the track. On the roads he is the most famous after his break over 100 km in the 2008 Paris-Roubaix.

Nikolai Trussov, a 23 year old, also has a track background. On the road he is more a sprinter. Last year he rode the Giro and finished 113th. His best result was 6th in the stage to Riese Pio X won by Alessandro Petacchi ahead of Max Richeze and Matti Breschel. (Max Richeze is credited with the win because of  Petacchi's loss of wins due to his recent suspension.)

Sergey Klimov is a 27 year old who also has a track background. This year he makes his grand tour debut in the Giro. His best result in 2008 was a 7th place overall in the Settimana Lombarda. 2007 was a really good year as he was: 13th in Langkawi, 7th in the Giro del Lazio, 5th in the Trofeo Matteotti and 7th in the Tre Valle Varesine and some other top results.

The last ones to introduce are the better known riders from Russia Vasil Kiryienka, Pavel Brutt and Mikhail Ignatiev.


Vasil Kiryienka winner stage 4 - 2007 Electro Toer.
Photo c. Bart Hazen cyclingfx.nl

2008 World Points Track Champion Vasil Kiryienka will support the squad as well. Kiryienka is 26 years old and has raced for Tinkoff since 2007. He really did well last year with top placements; 2nd place in Besseges, 7th in the Tirreno, 1st in the queens stage of the Elektro Toer, 8th in the Tour of Austria, a stage win in Burgos and 9th at the TT Worlds in Stuttgart. So far in 2008 Kiryienka was 7th in Murcia and he was member of the team which won the TTT in the Settimana Lombarda. Kiryienka can climb well and has a good time-trial. The 2008 Giro is his Grand Tour debut.

The two most aggressive rider of the team of last year’s Giro were Pavel Brutt and Mikhail Ignatiev. The Russian duo spent a lot in attacks and they were battling for the most attacking km’s in the trofeo Fuga Gilera. The winner of that ranking won an Italian Vespa scooter. Ignatiev won the ranking as he rode 469 km in breakaways. Tinkoff riders Elio Aggiano and Pavel Brutt were respectively third and fourth. Cofidis rider Mickael Buffaz was second. Ignatiev also won the Traguardo Volante Garibaldi Trophy for Intermediate sprints.

Pavel Brutt was also one of the riders in the long breaks of the recent Liege-Bastogne-Liege. They attacked in the first kilometers and were caught after the Redoute with less than 30 km to go. Brutt is 26 years old of age and won a stage in Langkawi and the GP Chiasso in 2007.


2007 Trofeo Laigueglia - Mikhail Ignatiev with the peloton in the distance at the finish. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Ignatiev (click on picture for a larger image)
Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen
Mikhail Ignatiev is maybe the most talented of this very talented squad. Ignatiev is a star on the track, having been a multiple junior world champion in the Madison and the Team Pursuit. He won the Junior TT World Championships In 2002 and 2003. In 2004 the 23 year old also won the Olympic Champion points race and in 2005 he became U23 World Championship against the clock.

In 2006 Mikhail won amongst other races, the final ranking in the Vuelta a Lleidia and was European Champion U23 in the individual pursuit. Last year he won the 3rd stage in the Tour of Mediterranean, the Trofeo Laigueglia and a stage in the Elektro Toer, Vuelta a Burgos and the Regio Tour. In 2008 his best result was 15th overall in the 3-daagse van de Panne. Ignatiev isn’t slow and is a good time-trialist. We will for sure see him in one of the breaks and in the top finishers in the time-trials.

The Giro d'Italia
Tinkoff Credit Systems squad
• Alberto Loddo
• Alexandre Serov
• Nikolai Trussov
• Sergey Klimov
• Luca Mazzanti
• Evgeni Petrov
• Vasil Kiryienka
• Pavel Brutt
• Mikhail Ignatiev
D.S.: Orlando Maini
http://www.tinkoff.it
Special thanks to Alicia Hopkins

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