8 months ago by Oskar Scarsbrook

Christoforou wins Aphrodite Cycling Race TT

Cypriot champion takes her first victory of the season on home roads

Antri Christoforou has got her European season off to the perfect start with victory in the Aphrodite Cycling Race individual time trial. The Cypriot champion dominated on home roads, beating second-placed rider – multiple Olympic medalist Olga Zabelinskaya (Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team) – by almost a minute and a half

Teammate Barbara Malcotti rounded out the podium with young Americans Katie Clouse and Makayla MacPherson also finishing inside the top ten in sixth and seventh place respectively. 

“I pushed all the way so I’m very happy about the result,” Christoforou said at the finish. “It’s super special to have my teammates in my country and to win with them and it was a great performance from everyone. I saw lots of people happy with my result and that’s the best medal for me.”

Held on an uphill course from Ora to The Machairas National Forest Park, the twisting 13.4-kilometer route meant that the riders had to push themselves all the way in the race against the clock. 

Having knowledge of the climb, Christoforou was able to sustain impressive power numbers throughout the race, powering to the line in a time of 34:50

“I knew it was important to give everything to beat Zabelinskaya,” Christoforou said of her rival who has won medals in the time trial at both the London and Rio Olympic Games. “I wanted to take the win, and nothing less, for the team and for my family and friends who were there today.”

Christoforou has made sure to extend her hospitality to our visiting riders who have never been to the Mediterranean island. Third place on the day, 22-year-old Malcotti has already sampled the delights. 

Malcotti putting the power down to finish third.

“It’s my first time here but I really love this Island,” she said afterward. “There is good weather and so it’s good for me. I think the upcoming road races will suit me well.”

Malcotti has been focussing on the block in Cyprus to create a performance base for the spring campaign. 

“I’m feeling very good right now,” she added. “I was really focussed on these races. I know I need more training but I think these races can also act as race training for me.”

Christoforou has long been an advocate in her home country for getting girls on bikes in her home, and pursuing a healthy lifestyle. The second edition of this women’s UCI 1.2 ranked race plays a big part in that mission. 

“It’s important for the young riders of Cyprus, a lot of whom cycled to the top to see how racing works at this level,” she says. “This is good motivation for them. I’m very happy to see the national team of Cyprus racing a UCI race and it’s encouraging for the future.”

Christoforou joined up with the rest of the squad in the Mediterranean having traveled the 9,000 miles from the Tour Down Under. Luckily for her performance, the Cypriot did not encounter the same sorts of effects from jet lag that she had previously battled with in the Southern Hemisphere. 

The time trial was race one in a collection of three individual events. Two road races – on February 8 and 11 – conclude the series, with Belgian Jesse Vandenbulcke joining the rest of the squad out in Cyprus for those. 

Elsewhere, Alice Barnes, Nina Buijsman, Kaia Schmid, Marjolein van’t Geloof, Lily Williams and Eri Yonamine will head to the Middle East next week to race the UAE Tour, the second stage race in the Women’s WorldTour calendar. Watch the race live on GCN+/Eurosport and make sure to follow the action via our comprehensive social media coverage. 

Aphrodite Cycling Race TT results
1 CHRISTOFOROU Antri – Human Powered Health 34:50
2 ZABELINSKAYA Olga – Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team 1:29
3 MALCOTTI Barbara – Human Powered Health 1:33
4 KUSKOVA Yanina – Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team 1:53
5 COLJÉ Maaike – Activate Cyprus Mixed Team 1:55
6 CLOUSE Katie – Human Powered Health 4:30
7 MACPHERSON Makayla – Human Powered Health 5:17
8 ELEFTHERIADOU Aikaterni – Greece 5:31
9 MISYURINA Margarita – Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team 5:35
10 ABDULLAEVA Shaknoza – Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team 6:03