Dimitri Konyshev was the only Russian in the history of the World Championships to make the elite men's podium until last Sunday, when Alexandr Kolobnev of Team Russia was out-sprinted for the rainbow jersey by Italy's Paolo Bettini. Guiding the team as directeur sportif that day was Konyshev himself.
"For me it was the first time that I drove the team car in the Worlds," said Konyshev to Tinkoff's Press Officer Sergey Kurdyukov. "No wonder that I liked the experience with the result that followed. Russia is back to the podium after my bronze in Benidorm [Spain], and fifteen years is a long gap. Alexandr Kolobnev was born in the same region of Russia as me, so his success is twice a pleasure."
The team was behind the 26 year-old rider 100 percent. "During the team meeting on Saturday evening the team unanimously voted for Kolobnev to be leader. He found excellent form at the Vuelta a España, and finished it relatively fresh, so for him there was no problem recuperating in a week's time. If it came down to a bunch sprint, Alexandr would be our best chance as well."
Kolobnev made the escape on the penultimate lap with Italy's Davide Rebellin, and then he chased back on with Evans to the final winning move of Bettini, Schleck and Schumacher. "I won't single out [team rider], they gave their all, and there is nothing to add. To control what remained of the pack when Kolobnev made the decisive breakaway was as difficult as riding in the escape."
Dimitri Konyshev also commented on the performance of the young riders who fought to the end in the under-23 road race. "Thumbs up to them, they did what they were supposed to do. The only thing that went missing was luck. Ivan Rovny is not a sprinter, and he chose the right moment to attack. ... Ivan just didn't happen to find good partners, and the bunch was impossible to control with line-ups that small. All in all, Rovny is an amazingly good tactician for his age, but sometimes it's just impossible to stave off the pack."
Rovny had worked with Julien Simon of France in the final circuit in a failed breakaway attempt.
"When a race develops like that on the last laps, the main thing you need is pure luck," said the 20 year-old Rovny. "I attacked at the right time and place, but a strong break didn't form. The final stretch was set against the wind, which naturally didn't help me at all. The chasing group remained rather big and well-focused, there were too many strong contenders eager to win."
He worked well with his Russian Tinkoff team-mates, Mikhail Ignatiev and Nikolai Trusov. "Frankly speaking, although some TV viewers spotted some indications of team tactics, there were actually none, in contrast to the top pro's race on Sunday. Each of us went for glory of his own; there was some cohesion between me, Ignatiev and Trusov – but only because we normally ride for the same pro squad."
There are two races for me left at the beginning of October – and then I'll take this long-awaited rest. No, I won't go to the sea, I'll spend the off-season at home in St Petersburg, that's the best way for me to recuperate. No cycling, just some MTB and jogging. I won't go to the gym either."