Gazprom RusVelo, a hothouse for Russian youngsters

 

Gazprom – RusVelo is a cycling project made up entirely of Russian athletes and it is the only international team left in the country. It takes great pride in its ability to recruit talented youngsters who are then allowed to develop and flourish in a pressure-free environment.

 

 

Originally set up in 2009, Gazprom RusVelo has a Professional Continental Team licence and can take part in UCI-circuit races, but also be invited to World-Tour events, as happened, for instance, at the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Giro d’Italia.

And it was during the 2016 Giro that it achieved resounding success with the twenty-three-year-old rider Alexander Foliforov who won the uphill time trial in the Alpe di Siusi.

But there was nothing lucky about it. Gazprom RusVelo has always had a single objective in its sights: to invest in young Russian riders, creating a serene environment for them to grow and hone their skills and abilities.

The 2017 season started off well with a place in the top ten for all the flat stages of the Abu-Dhabi tour, after which there was the extraordinary 260-km sprint by Ivan Rovny at the Milan-Sanremo.

But the best came from Roman Kustadinchev, who took the win with an astounding lone lead in March 2017 at the first edition of the Strade Bianche di Romagna, a kind of Paris Roubaix for the under-23s. Proof, if any were needed, that this team makes a mission out of nurturing young talent.

There were no stage wins at the 2017 Giro, but the Gazprom youngsters were the most active on the sprint scene. Especially Pavel Brutt and Evgeny Shalunov who made 4 attempts each: Pavel even scooped the sprint award for having spent the greatest number of kilometres at the front of the peloton.

 

How about saddles?

Like all teams, they eat up a lot of kilometres in the year between races and training sessions: on average 3,500 – 4,000 per month with athletes who spend practically 7 hours a day for 365 days a year in the saddle. That is a great deal of time.

Clearly, the saddle is a decisive factor in performance levels: think how it would feel to sit on something uncomfortable for the entire day…

Sitting on the wrong saddle can be very painful, and it is far from unknown for a cyclist to drop out for this very reason.

This is why it is crucial to look very carefully at the various options and weigh up which one best suits the individual cyclist.

The Russian team normally uses 13 different saddles – all Selle Italia ones: this wide range means that each team member can choose the style that fits them best and which will then be used for each course. Personal preferences aside, there are also differences in size and structure: there is no secret recipe for the perfect saddle. It is an issue that can only be resolved by taking into consideration the anatomical features of each single rider. In this sense, the scientific system idmatch Smart Caliper helps immensely.

The top 3 saddles chosen by Gazprom RusVelo?

SLR Team Edition, Turbomatic Gel Flow and Flite.

 

 

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