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by Shane Stokes
February 27, 2018
Gilbert, Terpstra and Stybar combining for Le Samyn success; Astana says it’s ‘calm and confident’ as budget woes drag on; INRNG assesses the Astana difficulties; Swiss Side updates its wheel range for 2018 with help from DT Swiss; Swiss Side strives to bring real-world aerodynamic measurements to all riders; Video: Kwiatkowski braves the elements
Following on from news on Friday that the Astana team is still awaiting funding for the 2018 season, something that general manager Alexandre Vinokourov described as ‘critical,’ the team has issued a statement confirming the issues but also being cautiously optimistic.
“The team is aware of the temporary problems, which results in some delay of payments from the team’s main sponsor,” it said. “We are hoping for a solution in the near future so the team can continue in the way it started this 2018 season. We are calm, confident and continue to work towards our goals.”
The tone is less panicked than the interview Vinokourov gave to Vesti.kz. “We’re going to races with our own savings, the lads haven’t received their salaries,” he said then. “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.”
Time will tell if the situation is rectified. In the meantime the riders are keeping their heads down and concentrating on their jobs. On Saturday Michael Valgren took the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while on Sunday Miguel Angel Lopez finished second on the final stage and third overall in the Abu Dhabi Tour.