In general, the 2018 season became a very successful for Astana Pro Team. During this year the riders of the team won 33 races and took 62 podium places.
- At the end of this year, we can proudly look back at our achievements. The team has achieved very serious results at the highest level. 95 podiums, including 33 victories - it is very worthy. Over the past two years, Astana has changed a lot, finding a new face. The team got younger, did a few big steps forward, while maintaining its own well-known style. After a period of adaptation that happened in 2017, this season we have demonstrated our potential, our strength. I am very happy that the team has expanded its ambitions, became more active and successful in one-day and classic races; that have grown seriously our Kazakh riders, Alexei Lutsenko, Yevgeniy Gidich, Nikita Stalnov, other guys. It is great that we have returned back to the highest positions on the Grand tours, which has always been and will be our top priority. This year we have a lot of victories, even more podiums. It was a wonderful year, which, however, makes us work even more in order to achieve new heights in the next season, - said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.
Thirty victories the team’s riders won in Astana jerseys, two more wins Alexey Lutsenko took at the Asian Games, representing the National Team of Kazakhstan. Moreno Moser in the colors of the National Team of Italy scored one more success at the Trofeo Laigueglia. Ten of 33 victories were achieved in the UCI WorldTour races.
Among the biggest victories of Astana Pro Team could be named two stages at the Tour de France (Omar Fraile, 14th stage and Magnus Cort, 15th stage), the general classification of the Tour of Oman (Alexey Lutsenko), stage wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné (Pello Bilbao), the Tour de Romandie (Jakob Fuglsang and Omar Fraile), the Itzulia Basque Country (Omar Fraile), the Binck Bank Tour (Magnus Cort) and the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Alexey Lutsenko). It is worth noting two big classics wins of Michael Valgren: the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite and the Amstel Gold Race.
In addition to victories, in 2018 Astana has a number of significant podiums. Two main successes of the Kazakh team in this season are the podiums of Miguel Angel Lopez at the Giro d’Italia (3rd place) and the Vuelta Ciclista a España (3rd place). After a difficult 2017 season, Astana Team managed to regain its position as a Grand tour favorite.
Alongside the Grand tours, the riders of Astana Pro Team marked some strong results in the general classification of prestigious stage races as the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2nd and 3rd places of Luis Leon Sanchez and Jakob Fuglsang), the Dubai Tour (2nd place of Magnus Cort), the Abu Dhabi Tour (3rd place of Miguel Angel Lopez), the Tour of Croatia (3rd place of Yevgeniy Gidich), the Tour de Suisse (2nd place of Jakob Fuglsang), the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (2nd place of Alexey Lutsenko), the Gree-Tour of Guangxi (3rd place of Sergei Chernetskii) and a number of other races.
The riders of Astana Team were competitive in prestigious one-day races as the Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France (2nd place of Michael Valgren) and Milano-Torino (2nd place of Miguel Angel Lopez).
We can say that Astana did not leave the podium from the first to the last race of the season, starting with the 3rd place at a stage of the Santos Tour Down Under in January and finishing with the 3rd place in the overall classification of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi in October.
Indeed, it was a very successful season for Astana Pro Team and as result the Kazakh team took a solid 6th place in the final team ranking of the 2018 UCI WorldTour (7859 points).
Besides, in the final ranking of the 2018 UCI Asia Tour Alexey Lutsenko took the 1st place scoring 6 wins during the season (Tour of Oman, stage of Tour of Austria, stage of Tour of Turkey, road race of Kazakhstan National Championships and two gold medals at Asian Games). Also, largely due to the efforts of Astana Pro Team rider, Kazakhstan won the national ranking of the UCI Asia Tour.
Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto