Team Type 1-Sanofi rider Aleksandr Serebryakov won a bike race on Thursday, breathing a huge sigh of relief as he crossed the line with his right arm raised, and leaving no doubt that he is a world class sprinter.
Serebryakov, from Russia, turned an ace leadout from teammate Aldo Ino Ilesic at 500 meters to go in the 146km fifth stage from Geochang to Gumi into a 200m solo launch up the right side of the dead-straight finish while his competitors chased shadows off to his far left.
“The pressure was off psychologically because we feel like we actually won the stage two days ago, before being relegated, and today was a chance for us to build on our confidence and win a little justice for Team Type 1-Sanofi,” said Serebryakov.
On Tuesday, Serebryakov’s stage three sprint victory was annulled when a local rider who finished in second place complained to domestic commissaires that the Russian drifted from his line and unsafely blocked his competitors.
“For 30 minutes on Tuesday after the race we sat in the antidoping room with the flowers and the victory medal, thinking we had won. Then one person from the organization came over to tell us we lost, took away the medal and the flowers, and there was no way to make a counterargument or explain the situation, because it was a done deal,” said Team Type 1-Sanofi Director Sportif Frederic Moncassin.
“The team is very motivated to win more stages in this race, because we want more podium victory flowers,” Moncassin said.
Thursday’s stage five of the Tour de Korea was raced under bright blue sunny skies, a sharp contrast to Wednesday’s cancelled fourth stage after a relentless downpour put 10cm of water on the roads before the 12km neutral rollout was even completed.
“On Thursday the race was perfect for us, but there were three crashes in the peloton caused by race organization motorcycles. Harley-Davidsons are good bikes, but not handy or nimble in a big race,” said Moncassin.
Team Type 1-Sanofi General Manager Vassili Davidenko, in Bodrum guiding another squad at the Tour of Turkey, praised the young Russian rider.
“We had a victory last year at the Tour de Korea taken away from us by bad road marshalling, and the bad luck got worse this year when Daniele Callegarin crashed out on Tuesday. To see Serebryakov come across the line first on Thursday is a big relief, because it confirms what we already knew when he finished fifth at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in February. Two wins in Korea, and two more podiums in Turkey this week is a pretty successful set of results,” Davidenko said.
Team Type 1-Sanofi CEO and Founder Phil Southerland called Serebryakov’s win a huge accomplishment for the global diabetes community.
“A win by a rider on Team Type 1-Sanofi is a win for our entire organization, and for the larger diabetes family around the world. Doctors and patients see a victory in a bike race as tremendous motivation to take control of their diabetes, and for Sasha to get podium flowers in Korea is proof positive that with patience and the right combination of factors, success is inevitable,” Southerland said.