Robert Kiserlovski Interview: Astana rider making good progress at 25
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Robert Kiserlovski Interview: Astana rider making good progress at 25

by Ed Hood at 8:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Spring Classics
 
‘In 2013 I want to be an even better rider.’

Robert KiserlovskiOvershadowed by Astana team mates’ Enrico Gasparotto and Maxim Iglinskiy’s wins in the Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege respectively, 25 year-old Robert Kiserlovski rode a fine Ardennes week.

Tackling his first Ardennes campaign, the Croatian rider took 29th in the Amstel, fifth in the Flèche and fourteenth at Liège.

The results mark him out as a potential Ardennes winner in the future, particularly as the laws of physiology suggest he should keep improving for several more years.

The first years of Kiserlovski’s career were spent with Slovenian Continental team, Adria.

He took second in the Croatian U23 road race championship in 2005 and third in the same race in 2006.

In 2007 he won the GP Pallo de Recioto in Italy, taking third in the Tour of Slovenia in 2008.

He signed with low budget Italian team Amica Chips for 2009 with a best of 4th in the Settimana Coppi-Bartali.

During the season, he transferred to Fuji-Servetto and started the Vuelta.

For 2010 he was with high profile Italian squad Liquigas and there were wins in the Giro dell Appenino and Giro TTT - along with a fine 10th on GC in the Giro and second in the young rider standings behind Richie Porte.

Last season he joined Astana, taking 7th in the Giro di Sardegna and 6th in the Giro del Trentino, finishing the Giro and taking 18th in the Vuelta.

This year, things have gone well. Before this year’s Ardennes rides, he started strongly with ninth in Paris-Nice, seventh in Catalonia and eleventh in the Pais Vasco.

VeloNation spoke to him as he put the finishing touches to his new apartment in the bustling Croatian seaport of Rijeka.

VeloNation: Were the Ardennes races a big goal for you, Robert?

Robert Kiserlovski: I rode them for the first time in my career…you have to gain experience in these races, and my performances were good for my future participations.

The main thing I learned was that you must save your bullets, or you pay for it later!

VN: The Ardennes races must have been a big goal for the team?

RK: Everyone was highly motivated, before the races our manager said that we needed to win UCI points.

We’ve had seconds and thirds but if you don’t win there is pressure upon you – the two wins made good for us.

VN: You started 2012 very strongly…

RK: Last year I had problems with my back; I crashed in Paris-Nice and couldn’t find my race rhythm until the second part of the year.

I rode the Vuelta and went OK but finished the season fresh because I did not race so much; that meant I was able to train well over the winter.

VN: Tell us about the Adria team…

Robert KiserlovskiRK: It’s a Slovenian Continental team; I joined them when I turned senior.

The team is well organised and it’s a perfect development team – getting you ready for when you go to a big professional team.

I’m grateful to them for the good start they gave me I the sport.

VN: You only rode half a season with Amica Chips?

RK: I had other offers but decided to go with them – unfortunately, they never paid me!

I had to look for another team half way through the season but I was lucky that my manager got me the contract with Fuji.

It was a good team and I was happy there.

I rode the Vuelta for them but came down in the big crash in Liège, where I broke my collarbone.

VN: Then Liquigas – a big team.

RK: I learned a lot at Liquigas but after one year decided to go to Astana. It’s a better team for me.

It’s not about freedom or having to ride for the big riders – I am happy to do that at Astana – it’s just that I am a rider who likes to take things step by step.

I don’t want to be like; ‘Boom!’

I want to build my career steadily – I would have been good with Astana last year but for that crash.

With Fuji I was good in the Tours of Austria and Switzerland and I’ve progressed ever since.

I think I would have done a good ride in the Vuelta that year too, but for the crash.

Last year I was in good shape for Paris-Nice and rode well in Trentino but the pains in my back meant I couldn’t perform in the Giro.

VN: There are so many different nationalities on Astana…how do you communicate?

RK: Ah! we have our own ‘Astana language!’

It’s a bit of Italian, Russian, French and English – it makes for good fun around the table!

VN: How is being on the team with Vino?

RK: It’s strange, when I started cycling he was one of the guys I used to watch on TV – and now we’re on the same team.

I never thought I would ride with him.

Last year in Paris-Nice, he was working for me and I couldn’t believe what was happening!

VN: Are you well known in Croatia?

Robert KiserlovskiRK: It’s getting better, every year there are more people on bikes and the newspapers write a little more about the sport.

But football is the main sport in Croatia – but not for me!

VN: You’re now in the top 30 on World Tour points. Is that something you pay attention to?

RK: It’s important for me but it’s more important to be good in the races – not to just race to make sure you get points.

I want to work to improve myself as a rider, not just to gain points.

In 2013 I want to an even better rider.

VN: Will we see you in a Grand Tour, this year?

RK: I am riding the Tour de France.

I have the Trofeo Melinda, the Tour de Suisse, the National Championships and then the Tour.

We’ll be working for Janez Brajkovic and I’ll be learning as the race goes on.

But for me, the Giro is the race I want to do well in, eventually.

VN: Will you be riding the Olympic road race?

RK: I have been selected, yes – along with Radoslav Rogina from the Adria team.

VN: When you were young you were a good cyclo-cross rider, but you chose the road…

RK: I liked ‘cross and every year I think, ‘maybe I will do some ‘cross this winter?’ – but then you think of the consequences if you have a bad fall.

Maybe it’s something I’ll go back to when I’m older…

VN: And what would you have done if you weren’t a cyclist?

RK: At school, I wanted to be a pilot but in the sixth grades I didn’t have the results. I decided that I was going to be a professional cyclist!

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