Former U23 world champion dies aged 31 after suspected heart attack

Ukrainian Dmitry Grabovskyy won the U23 World Championship road race in 2005

Dmitry Grabovskyy finest moment came at the 2005 World Championships in Madrid (Photo: Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Former under-23 world champion and Quick Step professional, Dmitry Grabovskyy died on Sunday of a suspected heart attack.

Grabovskyy, who was born in Ukraine but took Israeli citizenship in 2015, won the U23 World Championship title in Madrid in 2005 by beating Australian Will Walker and Russia's Evgeny Popov. Three days earlier, he won the time trial silver medal behind Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev.

After his World Championship win, Grabovskyy joined Quick Step, the same team as Belgian Tom Boonen who won the elite race in Madrid.

He spent three years, 2006 to 2008, in the Belgian ProTour team, but victories like that solo attack in Madrid never came, and he never won a professional race.

After leaving Quick Step he spent three years with Italian team ISD, which had sponsor ties to Ukraine, with whom he raced the 2009 Giro d'Italia – his only Grand Tour – and placing fifth on stage 18.

Afterwards, he drifted away from professional cycling and into alcoholism, admitting in a 2010 La Gazzetta dello Sport interview that he had nearly died twice from alcohol poisoning.

"It was wine and beer, no vodka. After training, in the afternoon, I'd go to the beach: women, parties, alcohol..." he explained.

"In those long periods without racing, I became a little depressed. I felt left alone, drifting away."

Cycling, and that joy he felt escaping solo from the pack, kept him going. Recently, his problems appeared a thing of the past, working with Giant bicycles and racing again in Israel in 2016.

Initial reports early Monday morning say that he died of a heart attack on Sunday.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.