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Ukrainian and Colombian Teams for the Worlds
By Podofdonny
Date: 10/4/2003
Ukrainian and Colombian Teams for the Worlds

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Will Colnago win the Worlds - for Ukraine?

In the current top 50 UCI rankings there are only three riders under the age of 24.

After a brilliant season and tremendous Vuelta Alejandro Valverde (b. 25th March 1980) is the top young gun and leads the way with 1.366 pts and is 9th ranked in the world. He is in the Spanish squad for the Worlds and is highly rated by the Bookmakers at 28 to 1.

Likewise Filippo Pozzato (b. 10th September 1981) has had a spectacular season, but even his stunning 36th place in the UCI rankings was not enough to force his selection into the most highly competitive squad in the world the “Squadra Azzurra”. Indeed since the top ten nations all are allowed to select teams of 12 riders it is arguable that Italy with a massive 14,447pts deserve even more placings as opposed to Denmark for example in 10th spot with “only” 3724 pts.

Yaroslav Popovych (b. 4th January 1980) is the final young gun in the top 50 UCI rankings, in 41st spot with 739 UCI points. The rider joined the Colnago-Landbouwkrediet at the start of the 2002 season after an incredible 2001 season with the Zoccorinese Vellutex Casa Selezione team and much was expected of the rider; he did not disappoint those who had faith in him.

At the start of the 2002 season he was in 1,174th position but after a season of solid performances, including an astonishing 12th place in the Giro d’Italia, the youngster climbed an amazing 1,100 places to finish in the top 100 at 74th place.

This year that potential has continued to mature. He was denied a second spot in the Giro d’Italia only by the narrowest of margins after he and Garzelli had battled it out in the final time trial.

So in spite of being denied the second place step by just 5 seconds, Popovych had a truly marvellous race.

Ernest Colnago, bike builder and talent spotter extraordinaire said in 2001: “Popovych  - he will be a great rider. I have always helped the riders from the East since the 1970's. Like Soukoruchenkov, Piasecki, Konyshev - now as for Popovych, he's got a great talent, but he has to realize that he can be a major force in cycling. Popovych needs to go to a team where he has the freedom to develop as a rider without a lot of pressure…” and true to his word Ernest has carefully allowed his talent to develop.

Refusing to over race his star, Popovych has ridden a selection of races since the Giro that have given him a full season of experience without placing too much demand on his physique or mental toughness.

He rode the famous post Giro “Criterium Cittá di Broni,” and to see Fabio's excellent report and photos click here.

He showed his climbing skills in the Classique des Alpes finishing in 11th spot, and then had a battle for the overall in the Tour du Region Wallone with Bartoli eventually finishing in third spot.

A series of good late season performances saw him finish in 7th place overall in the 5th Giro Provincia Lucca - for Fabio's excellent report and photos click here.

So the man from Drogobic goes to Hamilton already knowing what it is like to wear the rainbow jersey - in Lisbon in 2001, in spite of being the most marked man in the field, he won the U23 men's road race to add to his silver medal from Plouay the previous year.

He will go to Hamilton with a strong squad of seasoned pros and could well surprise the big names.

Ukraine Pre-selections


Sergiy Adyeyev (Lan)
Volodymyr Bileka (Lan)
Vladimir Duma (Lan)
Ruslan Gryschenko (Lan)
Volodymir Gustov (Fas)
Serhiy Honchar (Dnc)
Oleksandr Klymenko (Anm)
Yuriy Krivtsov (Del)
Sergiy Matveyev (Pan)
Yaroslav Popovych (Lan)
Kyrylo Pospyetev (Dve)
Maksym Rudenko (*El.2)


Serhiy Honchar (Dnc)
Oleksandr Klymenko (Anm)
Yuriy Krivtsov (Del)
Sergiy Matveyev (Pan)

8 riders will be selected for the Road Race and 2 for the Time trial.

Félix Cárdenas Ravelo celebrates his KOM triumph in this years Vuelta Espana.

Pena leads Colombia's Worlds squad

US Postal rider Victor Hugo Pena, who thrilled his home land when he became the first ever Colombian to wear the yellow jersey in this Tour de France, will lead his national squad for the world road race cycling championships.

The “Notorious VHP" leads a team that is missing reigning world time trial champion Santiago Botero, who is still struggling with fitness after his disastrous Tour campaign (Team Telekom certainly seemed to suffer from a curse on their signings for 2003), and Ivan Parra, the Kelme climber, who ruled himself out citing personal reasons.

Colombian Team

Victor H.Pena Grisales (Usp)
Félix Cárdenas Ravelo (Col-L2c)
César A.Grajales (Jit)
Israel Ochoa Plazas (Col-*El.2)
Marlon Pérez Arango (Col-Orb)


Victor H.Pena Grisales (Usp)
Marlon Pérez Arango (Col-Orb)

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