Valgren wins Het Nieuwsblad, Valverde shines in Abu Dhabi: Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef

February 26, 2018

In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Michael Valgren wins the men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Christina Siggaard a surprise winner in the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Dylan Groenewegen takes out Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne; Alejandro Valverde victorious at the Abu Dhabi Tour; Ellen van Dijk rides to Omloop van het Hageland victory; Hannah Barnes wins the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Astana in doubt due to ‘critical’ funding issues; Martin Vestby joins Mitchelton-Scott women’s team as sports director; Dumoulin’s Abu Dhabi dummy-spit; Photo galleries from NAHBS.

Astana in doubt due to ‘critical’ funding issues

by CyclingTips

Astana might have had a great weekend on the bike, with Michael Valgren winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Miguel Angel Lopez taking third at the Abu Dhabi Tour, but things seem anything but great behind the scenes.

The team’s general manager Alexandre Vinokourov has revealed that the Kazakh government hasn’t provided funding to the team since the start of the year, apparently leaving riders and staff unpaid. Speaking to local publication on Friday, Vinokourov described the situation as “critical”.

“We’re going to races with our own savings, the lads haven’t received their salaries,” Vinokourov said. “The situation is critical. There are 30 riders under contract, we have obligations to them. There are more than 50 people if you add in all the staff, including trainers, masseurs, doctors and mechanics.

“Flights, accommodation on races, logistics – all these costs are urgent, and any postponement of funding would simply stop the work of the team, and ahead of the most important races of the season. All this would inevitably lead to the closure of the project after 13 years.”

In addition to Valgren’s win in Belgium, Astana has also claimed two stages and the overall at the Tour of Oman plus the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia so far in 2018. Riders at the Abu Dhabi Tour have suggested that they have in fact been paid a salary this year, contrary to Vinokourov’s comments.

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