For the first time in his career, 32-year-old Yuriy Krivtsov, who turned professional with Jean Delatour in 2002, has appeared on a start list as a Frenchman. “He was naturalized in May last year but only now we can put FRA on our entry forms,” said Ag2r-La Mondiale’s directeur sportif Laurent Biondi, who enjoyed following his pupil during stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
Krivtsov was the first man to break away after the start in Tailem Bend. He was quickly joined by David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Mitchell Docker (Uni-SA), who contributed to a second significant escape in as many days and collected more time bonuses. The Australian therefore moved into fifth on GC, while a two-second bonus helped Krivtsov position himself in eleventh. Krivtsov followed Ag2r’s tactic of having someone take time up the road every day with the aim of making the top ten overall and scoring points for the world rankings.
“I tried and it worked out,” Krivtsov told Cyclingnews after the finish. “We believe the accumulation of the time bonuses will decide the GC.”
Krivtsov is known as a dedicated team player. That’s how he keeps a pro contract although he hasn’t won a race since the Ukrainian national time trial championship in 2004. He came second behind Vitali Popkov in the same competition last year, but that was his last participation in a national championship in his native country.
“This is my thirteenth year racing in France,” said Krivtsov, who migrated to try his luck with an amateur club in Nantes in 1999. “My son was born in France six and half years ago and he goes to French school. For him I’ve chosen to become a Frenchman as well. With my wife, we’ve decided to stay in France after my cycling career.”
Interestingly, the next French championship for individual time trial in Boulogne-sur-Mer might well be a duel between Krivtsov and former Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi, who was naturalized a year earlier. He has already challenged France’s two current best time trial specialists Nicolas Vogondy and Sylvain Chavanel, ending up with a bronze medal in 2010. On previous occasions, both Krivtsov and Bodrogi have proven their ability to ride faster against the clock than any native French pro cyclist, providing they show up at the peak of their form.