Latvia's ageing biker KORNILOVS refuses to let life cycle catch up with him
GLASGOW - Latvia's Vitalijs KORNILOVS turned 39 only a few days before his arrival in Scotland and despite being the oldest rider in track cycling at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, he is determined to show younger rivals that he can still compete with them.
"I think 39 is just a number," KORNILOVS said. "Being the oldest here motivates me even more to show my best performance compared to younger guys.
"Honestly, I do not feel any ageing factors. When I feel that I can't achieve better results, then I will stop cycling and move on to some other sport, like martial arts, which I started when I was in university."
KORNILOVS, who will take part in the men's individual pursuit, the points race, the scratch race and the omnium, is also the only competitor from Latvia in track cycling at Glasgow 2018 and the only Latvian who races at elite level because the sport is not popular in the Baltic country.
"It is really hard, since I have no support at all from our national federation," he said. "When I want to compete I need to arrange and organise everything by myself. During competitions I am usually a mechanic, physiotherapist, manager, sponsor, and then a competitor.
"I also self-finance with my own salary, since I have no sponsors."
The one-man-show from Riga is not even a professional cyclist. KORNILOVS is a full-time computer worker away from the track.
"I have a master's degree in computer science and work in an office as a programmer and software development team leader in a local company," he said. "Like everybody else, I work Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 18:00. The rest of my time, including standard holidays, is spent on racing and training.
"Cycling is my second work but doesn't bring me any financial income. There are only losses, like this trip to Glasgow."
Another handicap for KORNILOVS is the absence of velodromes, even simple outdoor tracks in Latvia.
"I can only afford training with the track bike on regular roads, and sometimes it could be quite problematic due to the traffic," he said. "The closest track is in Lithuania, but it is too expensive to rent it by myself."
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