Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD-Neri) was the only rider to go on the attack during the cold and wet opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday, showing that his personal problems are perhaps behind him.
The hugely talented Ukrainian won the under-23 world road race title in 2005 and was second in the time trial at just 19. He turned professional with Quick Step and then joined ISD-Neri but has suffered with a drinking problem that almost ended his career.
He has admitted that he almost died twice after binge drinking at parties. ISD only recently decided to give him a second chance and he paid them back today by taking the green climber's jersey , showing in the process that he has got his career back on track.
"I wanted to show myself and show that I'm back. I worked hard to help Rujano win in the Tour de Langkawi and wanted to get in the break. Unfortunately nobody came with me," he said after the stage. "It was cold and went out there but it was just like the weather I faced while training at home in the Ukraine this winter."
ISD-Neri directeur sportif Luca Scinto has played a big part in helping Grabovskyy and was rightly proud of him. "He almost blew everything but he's on the way back," Scinto told Cyclingnews.
"He's a huge talent and now it's up to him now to show what he can really do. We worked hard to help all our riders and we decided Grabovskyy deserved another chance. It would have been a defeat for everybody if we'd lost him from the sport."
"When he got a gap of nine minutes, I thought he might even stay away and win the stage. Unfortunately some teams started chasing but he showed how strong he is. They almost didn't catch him. Winning would have been amazing but I'm just happy he's got his life and career back on track."