“Queen of Biking” Edita Pučinskaitė: “Wearing the Lithuanian national team jersey is a great honor”

Edita Pučinkaitė. Photo: Personal Archive

“Queen of Bikes” – That’s how one of the best Lithuanian cyclists of all time, Edita Pučinskaitė – is called. During her more than 20-year career as a professional cyclist, she has won possible trophies such as the “Tour de France”, the “Giro d’Italia” world championship and the Lithuanian championship. However, as she says, she is missing only one and obviously the most expensive is the Olympic medal.

“Two weeks before the Beijing Olympics, I suffered a serious shoulder injury in Sweden. It may sound like an excuse for someone, but in fact I’m even scared to find out what the situation is. Na. I went through the game without moving it. Imagine using one hand. I went to the competition for the top spot, but unfortunately it was not destined. “After the Olympics, I did not sleep for a while because the Beijing song was made just for me.” Pučinskaitė speaks openly about her bitterness.

The cyclist crossed the finish line in ninth place, immediately behind her was another representative of Lithuania – Jolanta Polikevičiūtė. After two more years, E. Pučinskaitė decided to end her career and with the golden age of Lithuanian cyclists ended with her.

Love is not at first sight.

The 46-year-old cyclist from Naujos Akmenė admits she did not immediately fall in love with the bike. At the age of 12, she, like most Lithuanian athletes, tried to enter Panevėžys boarding school.

“I want to be a marathon runner. And I do not know why, but I did not meet the criteria and did not participate in athletics, “said E. Pučinskaitė. Both smiling. “Then coach Zigmas Šniūrevičius invited me to try cycling. I went through it a few times and that’s how I got on the internet. “

At that time the sisters Rasa and Jolanta Polikevičiūtė were already training in Panevėžys called the “City of Bicycles” and E. Pučinskaitė and Diana Žiliūtė joined them. It is these four female cyclists who have established themselves among the world’s cycling elites for more than two decades.

“Wearing the Lithuanian national team jersey is a great honor for us, as if on the wing and very supportive of the Lithuanians. We are very proud to be able to ride and fight for Lithuania. At that time we were like one fist, I D.iliūtė and sisters Rasa and Jolanta Polikevičiūtė. It seemed like we had nothing at the time: the bus stopped running, there was no sports psychologist to help overcome the stress. Many Lithuanians came to support us in the race, and the Lithuanian jerseys just gave us more and more encouragement to fight, ”the“ Bicycle Queen ”recalls.

Small and seemingly fragile, E. Punčinskaitė became the first athlete in the history of independent Lithuania to win a bronze medal at the World Championships. Three years later, in 1998, the Lithuanian became the winner of the famous “Tour de France” and a year later she won the gold medal of the world championship, which D. Žiliūtė won last year. Following is the Giro d’Italia.

He gave all his strength to charity

Cyclists who ended their careers 12 years ago did not run away from bicycles. A Lithuanian woman living in Italy with her family organizes a cycling event named after She every year. Everyone who loves the sport is invited to participate, and a portion of the money raised is donated to charity – to the poor and disabled Lithuanians and to contribute to the organization of sports camps for poor children.

“In July, together with Tautvydus Piragis, the initiator of the international social action” I Can Do More Than You Think “aimed at educating the public about Down syndrome and the people with it, we will cycle through Lithuania. “I always wanted cycling to be not only fun but also to help someone,” says E. Pučinskaitė.

“IKI Velomaratonas”, the 13th largest Baltic cycling festival in the world, invites you to ride this year on August 21st. In Vilnius. Start and end are scheduled in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. Volunteer cyclists can ride 10, 20 or 30 kilometers. Athletes – 50 and 100 km. Email Participants Children’s scooters and “Terrasport” skates, skateboards and scooters will ride on a 2.4 km separate trail.

velomaratonas.lt

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