Pro Team Astana presented in Dubai
A new lineup of Kazakhstan's Pro Team Astana has been presented in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz. Famous commentator of Eurosport Sergei Kurdyukov was a host at the event.
Before the coming cycling season, the team’s management had done a huge job on transfers signing nine new contracts.
Nine riders joining the team are Dutchman Lars Boom, a likely candidate for the victory in the Dubai Tour, Dario Cataldo from Sky, Davide Malacarne from Europcar, Diego Rosa from Androni, Luis Leon Sanchez from Caja Rural, Rein Taaramäe from Cofidis, Laurens De Vreese from Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Kazakhstani riders Maksat Ayazbayev and Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev.
The team has kick off its 2015 season at the Dubai Tour on February 4-7, 2015.
President of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation Darkhan Kaletayev, general team manager Alexander Vinokourov and members of the team Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, Lars Boom, Maksat Ayazbayev and Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev delivered speeches at the press conference.
“The team will start its tenth season this year. You may wonder why we are hold the presentation in Dubai. Because in Europe, I believe, we have already improved the image of our team and our country enough. With this presentation and by beginning with Tour of Dubai, we would like to start winning in the Arabian Peninsula, where apart from Tour of Dubai, Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman will take place,” the general manager of Astana Pro Team Alexander Vinokuorov, a famous Kazakhstani cycler, said.
Vinokourov said the team wanted to start the season afresh leaving its tainted past behind. He was particularly talking about the doping scandals that the team had to go through last year after five riders affiliated with the team returned positive results on doping tests within a few months. As a result, the Kazakh professional cycling team had to skip the Tour of Beijing.
“We want to erase every doubt and respect the rules,” Alexander Vinokourov and Darkhan Kaletayev are quoted by Cycling Weekly as saying to La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. “We’ve turned the page.”
Vinokourov also noted that the team’s management had done a great job in finding the sidekicks for Fabio Aru that has big goals for Giro d’Italia and Vuelta.
“We place huge hopes in Aru. He began his professional career in our team and we have been working with him pretty well, so he has serious tasks for the 2015 season," Vinokourov said.
“Preparation for the new season went according to plan. I was training with a personal trainer as well as with the whole team. Now I am ready to start the Tour of Dubai. It is important for me to start the season well. And my next race will be the Tour of Oman," Vincenzo Nibali said. This season, Italian racer will also take part in the Tour de France where he will defend his yellow jersey of the race's winner.
In addition, for the new season, the team financed by Kazakh Samruk Kazyna National Wealth Fund made some changes in the design of its outfit, whereas the producer of bicycles remained the same.
Several hundreds of Kazakh nationals living in Dubai attended the event.
Photos ©Yuliya Milova
By Assel Satubaldina