Astana Pro Team had a successful season30 september 2013, 15:46
In his interview for Vesti.kz, general manager of Kazakhstan's Astana Pro team Alexander Vinokourov resumed the Vuelta race results and spoke about new and old members of the team signed up for the new season.
Question: Alexander, please tell us about the Vuelta cycling marathon race.
Answer: Just like Martinelli said the 2nd place was a victory for us. The guys showed they could fight, we had the jersey on. Some would say that maybe we go it (the jersey) too early. We maybe even wanted to get rid of it, pass it on to a weaker team. But we couldn't, nobody took it from us, that is why our team had to keep it. This was a stress, of course: wearing a jersey means a podium after every stage and an all those extra tests - all this takes an 1-1.5 hour away from the rest time. Somehow all this may have affected the race results.
In the end we had the 2nd place. There was one cowboy who was faster. But everybody saw that we didn't give up easily, and we made the attack. We tried to grab the red jersey, and we even won the team trial - we have never achieved that before. The team was motivated for victory in the Vuelta since the very first day. But things don't always go as planned. It's a sport.
Vincenzo Nibali. ©AFP
I am grateful to all the guys, to the team, and the the staff, for doing their best at the race. Analyzing the whole race now, I can't say that there were moments when we had to act differently, press forward or ride more loosely. We did everything possible. There is nothing we should have done differently.
Maybe only that wasp bite that became a moral stress for Vincenzo. I believe he would have performed better in the individual trial if not the wasp. But nobody knows, maybe in this case Horner would have been 500 meters ahead instead of that one kilometer. It is had to make statements now, we already have the result. I believe that the 2nd place is a good result. The season is not over yet. There is the world cycling championship ahead of us. The team will rest a little. And I think it will be hard to win it after working so hard at the Vuelta. But getting a place at the podium is quite realistic.
Vincenzo Nibal after a wasp bite. Photo courtesy of Twitter.com
Q: After the Giro race the management of Samruk-Kazyna, Darkhan Kaletayev in particular, declared that winning the Vuelta was Astana cycling team's goal. Were the team's results appreciated?
A: After the penultimate stage, the president of the Federation, and Kaletayev as well, called us. Everybody saw that we didn't give up easily and fought until the end. Everybody congratulated us and shared my opinion that Astana team had a successful season.
The victory at the Giro, the podium at the Vuelta, I think it is a spectacular result. We have calculated, that is our 37th time that we have gain a second place. I hope that next year we will be getting more 1st places.
The management is satisfied. The team was all over the media during these three weeks, there was a lot of reports on the team in the newspapers, on Eurosport and all the other TV channels. I think that the team is doing was it is supposed to.
Vincenzo Nibali. ©AFP
Q: The season is nearly over. Can you unveil the names? Whom have you signed up already, who is in the plans?
A: Now we have 26 racers, who will remain on the team. There are only two vacancies for young racers from Kazakhstan. The decision on will fill them in will be made after the world championship. We have to decide with Shefer and Martinelli what kind of racer we need to add to the team. Who will be the best to will assist Vincenzo in winning the Tour de France.
We have prolonged the contract with Brajkovic, he performed well at the Vuelta, he has proven that he can work hard.
We well definitely prolong the contract with Grivko for another two year. We have an agreement already. Now once we have the Vuelta results we will sign it.
Bazayev is retiring. The Tour of Almaty is going to be his last race. He was offered a job in Kazakhstan and took it, although it took him long to think things over, but still decided to finish his sports career.
Kashechkin is also going to leave the team. The team has made a decision not to prolong his contract, to make a way for young cyclists.
Alexander Vinokourov. ©Vesti.kz