2018 Astana team presented, Colombia’s new stage race: Daily News Digest

by Neal Rogers

December 9, 2017

2018 Astana Pro Team presented in Kazakhstan; Uran, Quintana, Gaviria lend support to 2018 Colombia Oro y Paz stage race; Lappartient: UCI may conduct mid-race random testing for motors; Video: We all love cycling; Video: Xavier Hudson’s extra, extra long manual

2018 Astana Pro Team presented in Kazakhstan

by CyclingTips

The official presentation of the 2018 Astana Pro Team was held Friday in the city it was named after. The presentation was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Astana city, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The event was attended by the Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Muhamediuly, the Mayor of Astana Asset Isekeshev, and the President of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation Darkhan Kaletaev. The presentation opened with a special video dedicated the memory of Michele Scarponi before the 2018 Astana Pro Team and new cycling kit were shown.

The upcoming season will be the 13th cycling season in the team’s history. The general manager of the team Alexandr Vinokurov summed up the 2017 season and announced the main goals for the upcoming season.

“It’s not a secret to anyone that the last season was a tough one for our team,” he said. “Not only because of big changes at the start of 2017, injuries and bad luck, but, first of all, because of a huge loss. We lost Michele Scarponi and he will always be in our hearts. Anyway, together, we were able to pass through all hard moments and in the second part of the year we proved that Astana still holds its place as one of the best teams around the world. In 2017 we scored a number of nice victories and big achievements at the highest level, both in the UCI WorldTour races and Grand Tours. It is a pleasure to mark some attention on the successes of our Kazakh riders: the wins of the best Kazakhstan athlete Alexey Lutsenko and a serious progress of our young guys allow us to look optimistically into the future.”

At the event were presented six new riders of the team: Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan), Omar Fraile (Spain), Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Hugo Houle (Canada), Davide Villella (Italy), and Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark), who was unable to travel to Astana; a few days earlier, during training, Cort crashed and broke his collarbone. On December 7, in Girona, he underwent surgery. The rider will join the team at an upcoming training camp in Altea, Spain.

The full roster of 2018 Astana Pro Team, which includes 30 riders from 12 countries: Pello Bilbao (Spain), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kazakhstan), Dario Cataldo (Italy), Sergei Chernetckii (Russia), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark), Laurens De Vreese (Belgium), Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan), Omar Fraile (Spain), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Oscar Gatto (Italy), Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan), Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan), Jesper Hansen (Denmark), Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Hugo Houle (Canada), Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Truls Korsaeth (Norway), Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan), Miguel Ángel López (Colombia), Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan), Riccardo Minali (Italy), Moreno Moser (Italy), Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain), Nikita Stalnov (Kazakhstan), Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan), Michael Valgren (Denmark), Davide Villella (Italy), Artyom Zakharov (Kazakhstan) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan).