Serguei Ivanov has blamed former Katusha manager Andrei Tchmil for his failure to secure a contract with the team for 2012. The Russian announced that he has called time on his career after Tchmil had told the incoming management that he did not want to continue racing.
“I did not retire, it was Andrei Tchmil who caused this departure,” Ivanov said, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “It’s said of him that he only has two friends – euro and dollar. He resigned as general manager of Katusha and, without consulting me, he told his successor that I would stop.”
Tchmil, who is set to run for the presidency of the European Cycling Union, was replaced as general manager of Katusha by former Gerolsteiner supreme Hans-Michael Holczer ahead of the 2012 season.
At 36 years of age, Ivanov realised that his chances of finding another team at the highest level were limited. “I was hoping to make amends for my average last year,” he said. “But all team rosters are already formed and of course I’m not the youngest.”
In a 16-year career that also saw him ride for TVM, Fassa Bortolo, T-Mobile and Astana, Ivanov was Russian champion on no fewer than six occasions. He took two stage victories at the Tour de France, in 2001 and 2009, although his relationship with the race was not always a smooth one.
Ivanov was part of the TVM team that left the 1998 Tour in protest at questioning from French police, while two years later, he failed haematocrit test on the eve of the race and was unable to take part.
Always a solid performer in the spring classics, Ivanov’s finest spell of one-day form came in his first season with Katusha in 2009, when he won Amstel Gold Race and finished fifth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.