What's Cool In Road Cycling

Shmeleva and Voinova team sprint European champions

RusVelo riders Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova defended their European champions title in the team sprint competitions in Grenchen, Switzerland. In the gold medal final they beat Olympic champions, triple winners of the World’s Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel by almost sixty hundredth of a second. The Dutch duo Elis Ligtlee and Laurine van Reissen took the bronze. Earlier, in the qualifiers, Shmeleva and Voinova set a new national record of 32.324. Yet, their road to the top of the podium was anything but smooth this year.


Anastasiia Voinova tells the dramatic story:

“Last year it was much easier from a phycological point of view. We were full of ambitions, we went for it, all or nothing, that was it. We didn’t lack determination this year either, but the responsibility was a very important factor. And yet, that was not by any means the thing that could really hold us back. We had a much more tangible problem to deal with. Very few people in the cycling community know that just over a month ago Dasha broke her arm in a high-speed training accident. And I don’t have words powerful enough to convey my feeling of gratitude to her for the way she coped with this situation that looked at first glance a catastrophe. That’s how it all began: she was still crying right after that terrible crash, more from despair than out of pain, but even then she said, again and again: “We’ll go on to win, no matter what!”. Four days later she resumed her training. She completely pulled herself together, our coach Vladimir Kiriltsev had to mobilize himself too, he did twice as much as before, so long as Dasha needed a lot of specific work to come back in time. She took off the cast much earlier than it was recommended by the doctors, it was a serious risk, and she ran it. Thank God, there were no more serious trouble, and we did it! This predicament brought us closer together, now we feel a real team even more than before. She acted as a true person of duty and a 100 per cent professional.


It is such a relief! It’s unbelievable we could stand on this podium after all this, and Dasha jokingly fought with Kristina Vogel using flowers like swords. We are on very good terms with Kristina and Miriam, they are open-hearted girls, and we’ve got a lot in common. Kristina speaks some Russian, so we jump between English and Russian when we talk.

Back to serious matters, we feel more adult on this podium than even a year ago. We feel that this win belongs to a lot of people, to our coach, the team staff, Renat Khamidulin who hurried here full gas to see us winning. We are a part of a big, serious, modern team, and it gives us a great motivation”.


Renat Khamidulin, RusVelo team manager:

“I watched them on the podium, enjoyed this special moment with them, but couldn’t help thinking about this hard and bumpy road to success. I know what price they have paid to be on the top in time, I saw them riding themselves to dizziness at the worouts. To ride at a national record speed five weeks after breaking one’s arm, it’s something special, isn’t it? I can’t see them anything other than role-models for other riders who are yet to learn this art of giving it all”.


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