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Dmitriy Gruzdev and Artyom Zakharov stay with Astana Qazaqstan Team – Astana

Dmitriy Gruzdev and Artyom Zakharov stay with Astana Qazaqstan Team

Two Kazakh riders Dmitriy Gruzdev and Artyom Zakharov have renewed their contracts with Astana Qazaqstan Team for the next two seasons (2022 and 2023).

Dmitriy Gruzdev (35) is preparing for his 11th season with the Kazakh team, which he joined in 2012. Dmitriy is one of the most experienced active Kazakh riders in the peloton with eight Grand Tours, 17 Monuments and 7 Road World Championships to his name. Dmitriy Gruzdev is triple National and double Asian individual time trial Champion and this year, he represented Kazakhstan at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“The new contract with Astana Qazaqstan Team motivates me to keep on improving, to keep on providing my best for the team goals, to keep on working side by side with the team leaders, together achieving success. The last two years turned out to be a serious challenge for everyone but stepping into the new season I hope that everything will return to normal. I think I will be useful to the team in any kind of race; classics, stage races or Grand Tours”, – said Dmitriy Gruzdev.

Artyom Zakharov, who turned 30 today, joined team Astana in 2017. He is a track specialist who represented Kazakhstan in omnium at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but at the same time Artyom gained good experience at the Northern Classic races and short week-long stage races.

The 2017 National road race Champion, this year Zakharov claimed the bronze medal in the road race behind his teammates Yevgeniy Fedorov and Yevgeniy Gidich.

“The last year turned out to be tense and nervous due to the continuing pandemic and the preparation for the Olympic Games which was also a bit difficult because of many restrictions. Due to my track preparation, for the Olympics and Track World Championships, I did not spend too much time on the road together with team Astana this year. In the upcoming season, I would like to concentrate on the road, on helping my team, on working for my personal results in any one-day race or a small stage race. Despite the fact I spent a lot of time on track, I was able to gain some important experience during these five years in the WorldTour, and I feel like it is the right time to use it to achieve something important”, – said Artyom Zakharov.

 

“Dmitriy and Artyom are very experienced riders, and we need them in our team to share this valuable experience with the new generation of Kazakh riders like Yevgeniy Fedorov, Gleb Brussenskiy and our neo-pro Nurbergen Nurlykhassym. Despite his age, Gruzdev is still improving and during the last two seasons, especially at La Vuelta in 2020 and the Tour de France in 2021, he proved to be an important team player. Zakharov is also a strong and very loyal rider, always ready to provide good help to the leaders both at the classics and stage races. In the upcoming season, I am expecting both riders to work hard for the most important team goals”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Hermans to stay with ISN for two more years: ‘I am far from done’

Israel Start-Up Nation has signed Ben Hermans for two more years. ISN’s all-rounder won numerous stage races in the blue and white colors of the Israeli team, including during this season, and has strong ambitions to continue winning bike races.

This marks the first time that Hermans gets the chance to stay longer than four years on one team. “Adding two more seasons will make it six years with Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of 2023. It is proof that I feel very comfortable on this team.”

The Belgian rider says he gets along well with his colleagues and the staff of Israel Start-Up Nation. “I like the atmosphere here, and I am very satisfied with the material we use from our sponsors. I really did not want to change teams in 2022.”

Hermans evolved into a winner at ISN

Kjell Carlström, ISN’s general manager, says that 35-year-old Hermans has grown into his role since he joined ISN in 2018. “He has found the place where he can perform really well.”

Carlström is right because at Israel Start-Up Nation Hermans evolved into a winner.

The climber and ITT specialist only had one GC victory before coming to ISN, and in the blue and white kit, Hermans won the Tour of Utah, the Arctic Race of Norway, and the Tour of Austria twice. He also won numerous stages in these three stage races.

This year alone Hermans won the Giro dell’Appennino after an impressive solo effort, the individual time trial in Poitou Charentes and the team time trial in Coppi e Bartali.

‘I am competitive, and far from done’

Hermans points out that he has shown that he is still competitive. “And I am far from done,” he adds. “I am ambitious, and I am sure I can find nice goals for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.”

Carlström: “We are looking forward to seeing Hermans continue to achieve great successes and to reach all the team’s and his individual goals.”

The Belgian concludes: “I am more than happy that, again, the team has shown confidence in me for two more years. I am motivated to make the most of it.”

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com