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Astana rider Andriy Grivko has made the decision to auction off the bike he used to support Vincenzo Nibali during the Italian’s Tour de France victory, with the proceeds to go to soldiers injured in the fighting in Ukraine.
The former national road race and TT champion comes from the Crimea area of the country and has seen that land taken over by Russian forces.
“Of course, I’m sorry to give it,” he said in reference to his bike, according to Sportonline.ua. “But I had this idea a long time ago. I want to make a contribution to help soldiers in this difficult time for the country. I have seen the example of Yaroslav Popovych, who auctioned his trophies.”
He said that the last time he was home was before his area was annexed, one and a half years ago. The 31 year old is keen to go back, but knows he can’t do so at this point in time.
“I hope that when the Crimea returns to the Ukraine, I’ll go there again. And I believe that it will be very soon. But it should be only a political solution, and not military action as happens in the East.”
He points out that many of his relatives remain in the area and are trying to adapt to the difficult conditions.
In addition to helping Nibali take overall victory in the Tour de France, Grivko also took some solid results himself this year. He was ninth on stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné, plus sixth and seventh on stages of the Eneco Tour of Benelux. He was also fourth overall in the same race.
He said that he also used his Tour de France bike at the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain. “It has seen a lot,” he stated.
Crimea was incorporated into the Russian Federation in March of this year after the pro-Russian president President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev. He was later removed from his political position, something which was generally recognised internationally but seen as a coup d’état by Russia and some within Ukraine.
The east of the country remains extremely turbulent, and there are reports this week that Russian tanks and troops are re-entering Ukraine.