Former world U23 champ Grabovskyy slips down a level, faces crucial season
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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Former world U23 champ Grabovskyy slips down a level, faces crucial season

by Shane Stokes at 10:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Five years after worlds success, career of promising Ukrainian rider continues to be a complicated one

Dmytro GrabovskyyFormer world under 23 champion Dmytro Grabovskyy had hoped for a fresh start and a return to his best form in 2010, but after a decent start things didn’t quite go to plan. The 25 year old is dropping down a level this year, going from the Pro Continental ISD Neri team to the related Continental ISD-Lampre squad in 2011. The possibility is that this season could make or break his career.

Grabovskyy shot to prominence in Madrid in September 2005, winning the Espoir rainbow jersey there, and then followed that up the following season with a stage in the Baby Giro, the overall classification in the Giro delle Regioni and his second consecutive European TT championship victory.

He was given a good contract with Quick Step for 2007 and 2008 but failed to land any significant results, being dropped by the team and moving to ISD Neri for 2009.

One year ago, he admitted that he had problems with alcohol and said that he was prepared to knuckle down again.

“After some disappointments with Quick Step I ended up on the wrong path,” he told La Gazzetta Dello Sport. “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.”

He insisted then that he was back to full health. “This turbulent period is over…my life is rehabilitated. Now there’s only water in my refrigerator.”

ISD Neri initially didn’t list him on its 2010 roster but the management there decided to give him another chance. He knuckled down and started well, riding very strongly in support of eventual race victor Jose Rujano in the Tour de Langkawi and also sprinting to third place on stage three.

Encouraged, Grabovskyy returned to Europe and won the mountains classification in Tirreno Adriatico, then rode aggressively in Milan-Sanremo. That display, Rujano’s Langkawi victory and other performances meant that the team was confident of being given a wildcard slot for the Giro d’Italia, but on March 22nd the team learned that it had been unexpectedly passed over by the organisers of the race.

The young Ukrainian was as frustrated as the rest of the team, but continued to ride solidly in April. He was sixteenth on stage 1a of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, then took several good placings and eleventh overall in the Presidential Tour of Turkey. However more bad luck was to follow on May 9th, when he suffered a bad crash from his bike.

Grabovskyy had returned from training, had changed into regular clothes and went to ride a short distance to meet a friend. However he lost control of the bike and fell, landing on his face. He suffered a head injury and a broken collarbone, and was hospitalised.

It was August when he showed some sort of form again, netting seventeenth on the sixth stage of the Volta a Portugal. After that, things went quiet and he now finds himself heading down, rather than up, in terms of his team’s UCI ranking for 2011.

The next few months will be crucial in determining if he can finally turn things around and return to the top level. His current team’s links with the Lampre-ISD team means that he has a chance to move up to the ProTeam squad. However that will very much depend on what he can do between now and when contracts are finalised.

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