Image courtesy of Astana
Robert Kiserlovski is 26 years old today – Sretan 26. rođendan Robert!
Now, I know you’re saying: hmm, Kiserlovski, isn’t he the chap that ended up under a van at Paris-Nice and didn’t he break his collarbone at this year’s Tour during Tackgate? Yes, sadly Robert’s probably better known for his spectacular accidents than his palmares.
Let’s backtrack a bit. Robert and his older brother Emanuel – who was 28 on 3rd August – [an expensive month in the Kiserlovski household – Ed] were both successful at junior and under-23 level at cyclocross and on the road. Emanuel has remained with the continental Croatian team, Loborika-Favorit, which he joined in 2009 and who wear a kit almost identical to Rabobank’s.
Younger brother Robert spent the first few years of his career with Slovenian Continental team Adria. His first professional win came in 2007 at the GP Pallo de Recioto in Italy, followed by third overall in the 2008 Tour of Slovenia. He then moved to Italian team Amica Chips – run by Giuseppe Martinelli, now at Astana – for 2009 and came fourth in the Settimana Coppi-Bartali. The team imploded mid-season and he moved to Fuji-Servetto and took part in the Vuelta a Espana but broke his collarbone in a crash on one of the early stages.
Image courtesy of Astana
Robert made the move to ProTour team Liquigas in 2010 and recorded wins in the Giro dell Appennino and Giro d’Italia team time trial – along with a fine 10th overall in the Giro and second in the best young rider competition behind Richie Porte. Last season he moved with Roman Kreuziger to Astana, taking seventh in the Giro di Sardegna and sixth in the Giro del Trentino, finishing the Giro and placing 18th overall in the Vuelta. This year, things have also gone well. Ninth in Paris-Nice, seventh in Volta a Catalunya, 11th in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco before a fine week in the Ardennes Classics – 29th in Amstel Gold, fifth in Fleche-Wallonne and 14th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. These promising results mark him out as a potential Ardennes winner.
A solid 13th overall in the Tour de Suisse and Robert was ready for his maiden ride in the Tour de France. The only Croatian taking part, he came close to a breakaway stage victory for the second consecutive day on the Tour’s 12th stage between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Annonay-Davezieux and was rewarded for his attacking style – panache even – with the consolatory combativity prize. Afterwards, he claimed:
Today was hard and this is not an easy prize to win. It is the third time I have been involved in a breakaway and I was paying for it a little. I also got a flat just a few kilometres from the end and my legs are tired. With races like this I prefer there to be a climb at the end, but I am satisfied in any case. I want to succeed in winning a stage and there are still three good opportunities for me to do so.
Unfortunately, two stages later Robert’s Tour came to an impromptu end – a victim of Tackgate. Robert was helping team leader Janez Brajkovic change a tyre punctured by the tacks scattered by hooligans when American Levi Leipheimer crashed into him, breaking his collarbone. Robert’s well on the road to recovery and we’re likely to see him next at the World Championships representing Croatia.
Now I could but I won’t show YouTube images of his two famous crashes. Instead here’s one of him warming up for a time trial in 2011 and larking about a bit. [Wouldn’t happen at Sky – Ed.]