Vasil Kiryienka has signed a new deal with Team Ineos that will see him ride with the team until the end of the 2020 season.
The 38-year-old Belarusian has been with the British squad since 2013 and has been part of four Grand Tour winning teams. He has also taken a number of major victories himself, with stage wins at the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia and most notably, victory in the World Championships time trial in Richmond, USA in 2015.
Kiryienka’s career looked under threat however at the start of this year. He was forced to take time off the bike to treat a ‘cardiac anomaly’, with uncertainty over whether he would be able to return to the professional peloton.
Following treatment in March, he made his racing return with the team at the Tour de Romandie, helping Geraint Thomas to a third place overall finish. He then impressively went on to win the European Games time trial in June in his home capital city of Minsk, before riding the Vuelta a España in August/September, abandoning the race on stage 18.
He concluded his season at the Road World Championships in Yorkshire, finishing 31st in the time trial and failing to finish a rain-soaked road race.
Kiryienka said the 2019 season has been a difficult one for him with his career up in the air, but paid tribute to Team Ineos for helping him and now extending his stay with the team.
“The current season was not easy for me,” Kiryienka said. “It was hard to realise that there were some physiological changes in my body that might not allow me to continue to do what I love. But thanks to the support from the team my condition returned to normal. A special thanks to the team doctor Iñigo Sarriegui for the work on my recovery. It was nice to see the positive reaction of some riders in the peloton to my return to racing. These moments helped me cheer up and win the European Games time trial.
“I am happy to continue in the team. This whole set up gives me the opportunity to feel happy when my team-mates succeed, or go for my own chance to win if it occurs. I am grateful for the opportunity to be an example for my children.”
Coach Xabier Artetxe added: “Kiry is a great example for the young riders – to see someone who has been a world champion and one of the best support riders in the world. He’s done almost everything, competing in numerous Grand Tours successes, but he keeps the same motivation to continue. He’s a 38-year-old rider and he’s motivated to train every day, to ride the bike, compete in Grand Tours and the very best races.
“Given he’s in the latter part of his career and with the health issue he had, the easiest thing for him would have been to retire, but Kiry is really motivated to continue racing. He wants to do more years on the bike.”