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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Riding on World Tour with UAE Team Emirates 'a dream for me' says Alexander Riabushenko

The Belarusian, 23, named in the six-member UAE Team Emirates squad for the GP Lugano in Switzerland starting Sunday

Alexander Riabushenko is hoping to make most of his opportunities to step up on the international circuit after being named in the six-member UAE Team Emirates squad for the GP Lugano in Switzerland starting Sunday. Courtesy UAE Team Emirates
Alexander Riabushenko is hoping to make most of his opportunities to step up on the international circuit after being named in the six-member UAE Team Emirates squad for the GP Lugano in Switzerland starting Sunday. Courtesy UAE Team Emirates

Alexander Riabushenko is hoping to make most of his opportunities to step up on the international circuit after being named in the six-member UAE Team Emirates squad for the GP Lugano in Switzerland starting Sunday.

The Belarusian, 23, joined the UAE Team as a trainee last year and finished 24th at last month's Eschborn-Frankfurt, the one-day race in Germany clinched for a record fourth time by teammate Alexander Kristoff.

Deigo Ulissi, who returns from last week’s Giro d’Italia for the one-day race, leads the team that also include Anass Ait el Abdia (Morocco), Simone Consonni (Italy), Filippo Ganna (Italy), Jan Polanc (Slovenia), and Ben Swift (United Kingdom).

“Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to ride with the team as a trainee and that was a dream for me,” said Riabushenko on his preparation for the 185.6-kilometre race.

“I had already achieved some great results in the amateur categories which were really important, like the European title. However, being with a World Tour team has been amazing.

“When I was told I would have become pro with the UAE Team Emirates it's difficult for me to describe how happy I was – everything became even more impressive.

“In the second half of last season I began to appreciate the team. I felt very comfortable with everything and everyone, and so in 2018 I felt at ease with my teammates and with the whole staff.”

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Emirati cyclist wins Outstanding UAE Athlete of 2017 award

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Riabushenko has drawn inspiration from his father Svyatoslav who achieved his dream of participating at the Olympics when he represented the Community of the Independent States at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

“He always kept saying to me: 'Never give up!' and he still reminds me of it today,” he said.

“He inspired me and I'm so happy to receive his advice. Cycling is a demanding sport, but with the proper motivations and a good attitude, you can achieve good results, it does not matter if you are big or small, all that is important is that you try to reach your goal.”

Since taking the step up, the difference between amateur and professional teams, in terms of training, is minimal, Riabushenko said, but there was more emphasis on tactics during races.

“Nowadays, the amateur teams are so well organised,” he said. “The main difference is during the race.

“The amateur race’s strategy is focused on high speed. In the pro world, the tactical side has a deeper impact on the race, the teams are more organised and they can have a bigger influence on the outcome of the race.

“You cannot miss a move if you want to perform at a high level and achieve top results. You need to be well focused on the race, use your mind and not just your legs.”