Astana Qazaqstan Team set to create a new Continental Development Team – Astana

Astana Qazaqstan Team set to create a new Continental Development Team

Astana Qazaqstan Team is happy to announce the creation of a new UCI Continental team for Under 23 riders. The new project will be named Astana Qazaqstan Development Team and it will be focused on nurturing young talented riders, who will have a chance to move to the WorldTour level in the future.

The team is going to be created under the same juridical structure as the main UCI WorldTour Astana Qazaqstan Team and in the upcoming season of 2022 it will be aimed to the most prestigious Under 23 as well as Elite races all around Europe.

“Cycling is becoming younger, and it requires a better and profounder work with the young talented riders. This is the reason that many teams already have their own development teams. I was dreaming about Astana development team for a long time and now we have an opportunity to create a new Under 23 team inside our structure and with support of Wilier Triestina. I think this is a big and important step ahead in our global development as a national cycling project and I hope we will succeed. We are working on receiving the UCI Continental Team license to have a possibility to build up a good calendar for the riders which would include many important youth races around Europe. So far, we are thinking about ten riders, the priority will be given to young riders from Kazakhstan, but we are planning to invite a few talented riders from other countries to this team. Thus, we will get a chance to create a strong team where the riders will have a possibility to gain experience and learn from each other to step into the level of our main team”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.


“Our Federation is welcoming and supporting the creation of this development team under the structure of Astana Qazaqstan Team, the main cycling team of Kazakhstan. Initially Astana Project was created to give an impetus to domestic youth cycling and with the new development team we can build up a very good structure with the young riders growing up through a strong calendar to the WorldTour level”, – said Nurlan Smagulov, President of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation.

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Alexandr Riabushenko, Simone Velasco and Michele Gazzoli set to join Astana Qazaqstan Team – Astana

Alexandr Riabushenko, Simone Velasco and Michele Gazzoli set to join Astana Qazaqstan Team

Three more riders will join Astana Qazaqstan Team in the new season: Alexandr Riabushenko, Simone Velasco and neo-pro Michele Gazzoli all signed a two-year contract for 2022 and 2023.

Belarusian rider Alexandr Riabushenko (26) turned pro in 2018 after a few impressive victories: he won the U23 European Road Championships in 2016 and Piccolo Giro di Lombardia in 2017. During these four years in the WorldTour Riabushenko continued to develop as a professional rider, gaining experience and taking first important results: in 2018 he was second at a stage of Itzulia Basque Country, in 2019 he won Coppa Agostoni, reached the podium at Gran Premio Citta di Lugano and finished fourth in the road race of the European Games, in 2020 Alexandr was third both at Memorial Marco Pantani and Coppa Sabatini.

The 2021 season was impacted by a hand fracture in a bad crash at the Tour of the Alps, however Riabushenko still was able to get some good performances as, for example, second place on a stage of Settimana Ciclistica Italiana and 11th place at Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.

“After four years in one team I feel like it is time to get a change in my career, to do a new step towards my development as a rider. I can say that I really like Astana and I was cheering for this team since I was junior. It is a great team and I saw many champions riding for this team and scoring many big successes in Astana colors. It is a pleasure and honor for me to join this team and to become a part of its history. I am ready for any calendar and any race in the upcoming season, I just want to be useful to the team, trying to help the leaders to reach their biggest goals. Of course, I would like to get a chance to ride for my personal result and I hope it will come at the one-day races, for example, as I like it a lot. But also would be great to do the Giro or the Tour, as my only Grand Tour experience was La Vuelta in 2020. I am looking forward to start the new season with Astana Qazaqstan Team”, – said Alexandr Riabushenko.

Italian rider Simone Velasco (25) is one-day races specialist with a good sprint from a reduced group. After a number of important successes on the Under 23 level, Velasco turned pro in 2016 with a pro continental team. Trofeo Laigueglia (2019), a stage at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (2019), a stage at Tour du Limousin (2021) and a third place at a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (2021) can be named about rider’s best results.

“For every rider who is turning professional the biggest dream is to join a WorldTour team, to reach the highest level of cycling. For me Astana is the best solution, the best team I could join, and I am really happy with that. It is an honor for me to meet big riders in this team and at the same time to work for them and to help them to reach the goals. I hope I will be able to do another step ahead in my progress and also I hope I will have a chance to show all my abilities, working hard for the team. Of course, I would like to find my chance too in any race which would suit me and where the team would trust in me”, – said Simone Velasco.

Michele Gazzoli (22) is preparing to begin his professional career with Astana Qazaqstan Team. This year the young Italian rider impressed many specialists with a strong performance at the U23 World Road Championships, where he finished fourth, and at the famous Italian U23 one-day race Gran Premio della Liberazione, won by Michele in a sprint from a reduced leading group.

“I am really happy to come to Astana Qazaqstan Team as for me it is one of the best teams in the world. I am excited with the chance to ride side by side with the biggest stars as Vincenzo Nibali and Gianni Moscon, for example. I know that my first year in the WorldTour will be a hard one and I have to learn many things and to gain a lot of experience, but I am ready for this challenge. My main goal for the new year is to learn as much as possible and to help the team in the best possible way. I have a dream to start at the Giro d’Italia and I hope I’ll do it one day, but right now I just hope to start the season with the team and to keep on working day by day”, – said Michele Gazzoli.


“I welcome the new riders in Astana Qazaqstan Team. Alexandr Riabushenko is already well-known young rider, who showed some good results in one-day races. I think we can keep on improving this direction for him but, of course, Alexandr can provide a good help to our leaders in stage races too. Simone Velasco is going to step into the WorldTour with our team and I think, this new chapter of his career will motivate him. We saw him improving fast over the last few years and it seems that Velasco can strengthen our one-day race direction. Michele Gazzoli is a young rider and Astana Qazaqstan Team will be his first professional team. We see a big potential in this rider, and I think that in our team he can find all necessary for a good development on a professional level”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali set to join Astana Qazaqstan Team for two years – Astana

Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali set to join Astana Qazaqstan Team for two years

Astana Qazaqstan Team will welcome two more Italian riders in the upcoming season with Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali both signing a two-year agreement with the Kazakh WorldTour team (for 2022 and 2023).

Valerio Conti (28) turned pro in 2014 and during his eight seasons at the WorldTour level has scored some important results, showing himself as a strong climber and one-day racer. He won Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli in his first year as a pro, won a stage of the Tour of Japan in the following year, took a beautiful solo victory at a stage of La Vuelta in 2016, scored a solid second place in the General Classification of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in 2019 and took a win at Trofeo Matteotti in 2020. Back in 2019 Conti spent five days in the Pink Jersey as the race leader of the Giro d’Italia.

Two second places at Giro dell’Appennino and Gran Premio Citta di Lugano are his best results in the 2021 cycling season.

“I am happy to move to Astana Qazaqstan Team in the new season. It is a great team, and I am really looking forward to joining and to face the new challenges in the career. Astana is a strong and well-balanced international team, but of course, I am happy to see many Italian riders in the roster as it will be much easier for me to blend in quickly. The main goals for the next season are still to be discussed, but my personal wish is to try to win as much as possible”, – said Valerio Conti.

Antonio Nibali (29) is known as a strong helper for team leaders both at the Grand Tours and week-long stage races. At the same time, Antonio is very active in breakaways, always looking for a chance to fight for a stage win. In 2018, he won a stage at the Tour of Austria and took a good 8th place at Gran Premio Citta di Lugano, while this season he was 6th at a stage of the Tour of the Alps and finished 12th in the General Classification of the Tour of Sicily.

“I am looking forward to meet the team and to start the new season. I hope to spend some good years in Astana Qazaqstan Team, to help achieve the biggest goals of the team, to try to win something and to help the leaders in the best possible way. I am quite sure I will find a nice atmosphere in the team as I know a good part of the staff and, of course, some riders. The last two seasons were not that great due to the COVID-19 situation but I hope in the following year, step by step, everything will come back to 100% normal. I am ready for a new challenge in my career, it is an important change for me, and I hope to provide my new team with all the best I can do”, – said Antonio Nibali.


“Two strong riders are coming to our team. Both Valerio and Antonio are very experienced riders with many Grand Tour participations to their names, so they will bring some additional strength to our Grand Tour group. At the same time, these riders have good potential when it comes to winning races. Valerio Conti showed it many times in one-day races, while Antonio Nibali is known as a breakaway rider, so I am sure that they will get their chance to fight for a nice personal result”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Miguel Angel Lopez is set to return to Astana Qazaqstan Team for two seasons – Astana

Miguel Angel Lopez is set to return to Astana Qazaqstan Team for two seasons

The long-term leader of the Kazakh team Miguel Angel Lopez makes his return to Astana Qazaqstan Team. The 27-year-old Colombian rider has signed a new two-year agreement with the team for 2022 and 2023.

“Coming back to the Astana team is a return home. In the world of professional cycling, a rider who wants to keep on moving forward sometimes has to change something in his career, to gain new experience. Sometimes it is a good one, sometimes not. The main thing is that I am coming home to my team, the team that gave me so much and with which, I am sure, we will be able to live many more wonderful moments. There is a lot of work ahead for the new season to be successful for me and for Astana Qazaqstan Team”, – said Miguel Angel Lopez.

Miguel Angel Lopez spent six seasons in the Astana project from 2015 to 2020, where he achieved most of his biggest results, including GC victories at Tour de Suisse (2016), Volta a Catalunya (2019), Tour of Colombia (2019), stage triumphs at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España as well as at the oldest classic race Milano-Torino. Together with Team Astana, Lopez reached the final podium of two Grand Tours in 2018, securing third place at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

The Colombian rider moved on for the 2021 season, during which time he also tasted some important successes with victory at the Vuelta a Andalucia, the one-day race Mont Ventoux Challenge, and the queen stage of La Vuelta.

“Miguel Angel Lopez is a rider who grew up and achieved his greatest successes in our team, and therefore I am happy that after a short break he is making his return to Astana Team. Over the past year, Miguel Angel has gained serious experience, which, perhaps, he lacked in our team. I think that this experience, both good and not so good, will help him to continue his development. Lopez proved that he is still one of the strongest riders in the world, continuing to win at the highest level, so it is great that Miguel Angel will continue his career in Astana Qazaqstan Team”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Alexey Lutsenko set for three more seasons in Astana Team – Astana

Alexey Lutsenko set for three more seasons in Astana Team

Astana Team is pleased to announce that the strongest Kazakh rider in the peloton, Alexey Lutsenko, will remain with the team for the following three seasons (2022-2024). The 28-year-old team leader will continue defending the colors of the national cycling project after nine successful years with the Kazakh WorldTour team.

“I am very happy to continue my professional career in our Kazakh Astana Team. During the years spent in the team, I have managed to become a leader, and for me this is both a responsibility and an incentive to continue to develop, to strive for new heights and every time to try to confirm my leadership position with new victories. This year, I managed to make a big step forward in the fight for the General Classifications both, at big week-long races like the Criterium du Dauphine and at the Grand Tours. My seventh place in the General Classification of the Tour de France motivates me to continue moving in this direction so, in the future, I will be aiming to fight not only for the top ten, but also for the podium. I will enter the new season together with the Astana Team with new ambitions and goals. I am sure that together with the team management and coaches we will be able to determine my main goals for the next seasons, after which we will do our best to achieve what we want”, – says Alexey Lutsenko.

Despite an injury sustained in the beginning of the year at Paris–Nice, Lutsenko has achieved a number of significant results this season. In June, Lutsenko claimed a solid win in the individual time trial at the prestigious stage race Criterium du Dauphine, also taking the second podium place in the General Classification. While in July, the Kazakh leader of the team excelled at the Tour de France, where he finished in a high seventh place in the overall standings, for the first time entering the top 10 at a Grand Tour. Lutsenko also stood on the podium at the one-day race Gran Premio Miguel Indurain.

His career in the Astana Team started in 2013 immediately after his historic victory in the road race of the U23 UCI Road World Championships. Throughout the past nine seasons in the Astana project, Lutsenko took 28 victories, including stage wins at the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Paris–Nice, Criterium du Dauphine, Tour de Suisse and Tirreno–Adriatico.

“Alexey is a real team leader, who is not only winning and delivering high results, but who is also able to rally the team and lead it at the highest level races. This year, an important step forward was made at the Tour de France, and for the first time in 16 years, a Kazakh rider was among the best ten riders in the overall standings. Now Alexey is entering the age of the heyday of a professional rider, and I am very glad that we will continue this path together. There is a lot of work ahead, we will not stop there, but we will continue to move forward. Our team needs a leader like Alexey Lutsenko, and I am sure that in Astana, Alexey will have everything he needs to achieve the most ambitious goals”, – says Alexandr Vinokurov, 2022 Sports Team Principal.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com

Astana Team set to continue in 2022 – Astana

Astana Team set to continue in 2022

The Astana team’s future in the WorldTour peloton is secured for 2022 with the team’s Kazakh shareholders confirming they will continue as team owner and title sponsor for the upcoming season.

Alexandr Vinokurov has been reappointed as Sports Team Principal for the 2022 season and will oversee the rider and staff recruitment and sporting operations.

With preparations underway for the team’s 17th year in the peloton, announcements regarding rider contract extension and new rider signings will be made in the near future.


📷 Chris Auld

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Martin set to go to ninth Tour de France and return to Mûr de Bretagne

Let’s go back to 2018 when Dan Martin attacks with 1.2 kilometers to the finish line on the Mûr de Bretagne. His competitors try to follow but give up. Martin, being chased by Pierre Latour and, a few moments later, by Alejandro Valverde, looks back a few times in the last hundred meters. He is too strong, his opponents come too late.


It is revenge for 2015 when Martin was beaten by Alexis Vuillermoz on that very same climb. “I thought I would give it a try, so I did, and the legs kept going,” he would say about his 2018 success after celebrating over the line.

In 2021, Dan Martin will return to the Mûr de Bretagne (stage 2), as he is selected for his ninth Tour de France, this time in the #BlueAndWhite colors of Israel Start-Up Nation.

About the Mûr, he says, “It is indeed a climb that suits me and that I like. I am looking forward to returning to it.”

The Irishman, a stage winner in all three Grand Tours since the Giro of this year, will have a free role in Israel Start-Up Nation’s team. He can rely on the support of his teammates on stages like the one on day two in the Tour.

Having the Giro in the legs does not feel like a disadvantage for the climber. Martin elaborates, “With the right balance of training and recovery, I think having done the Giro can be beneficial, rather than a disadvantage.”

“Together with Paulo Saldanha from PowerWatts, I feel like we found that right balance very well.”

“I took training a little bit easier after the Giro, and I have done more intensity over the last few trainings. I feel recovered and ready to race,” the two-time stage winner in the Tour de France says.

Tour of the Alps 2021 – 45th Edition – 5th stage Valle del Chiese/Idroland – Riva del Garda 120,9 km – 23/04/2021 – Daniel Martin (IRL – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021

“Racing my ninth Tour de France is something I was planning from the beginning of the season and I am happy that I am racing it, especially as it brings me back to the Mûr.”

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com