Yaroslav Popovych (born January 4, 1980 in Drohobych) is a Ukrainian professional road racing cyclist who most recently rode for the Astana Team. He turned professional in 2002 with the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago Team after becoming the first and only amateur to win the silver medal and then the gold medal in the U23 UCI World Road Race Championships in successive years (2000 and 2001). Popovych has also raced professionally for Discovery Channel and Silence-Lotto.
Popovych was an impressive junior’s racer winning some 35 victories in 2000 and 2001 and has since turned into a consistently strong all-around stage racer appearing in 12 Grand Tours since 2002. He has finished in the top 25, eight times among the Vuelta, de Giro, and the Tour de France races. Having been considered a potential team leader because of his all-around capabilities, he has more recently been cast in a support role in the larger stage races.
His major results include 3rd overall in the 2003 Giro d’Italia, 5th overall in the 2004 Giro where he held the Maglia Rosa for stages 13-16, 1st in the 2004 Trofeo Androni Giocattoli, 1st overall in the 2005 Volta a Catalunya, 1st Young Rider Classification and 12th overall in the 2005 Tour de France where he helped Lance Armstrong win his seventh Tour de France victory. Popovych finished 1st in Stage 12 of the 2006 Tour de France, 3rd Overall and 1st in Stage 2 of the 2006 Tour de Georgia, 1st in the Stage 2 Time Trial of the 2006 Vuelta a Castilla y León, 1st in Stage 5 of the 2007 Paris-Nice, 3rd overall in the 2008 Paris-Nice, and 1st with his teammates in the Stage 4 Team Time Trial in the 2009 Tour de France.
By George Hurst