A mix of youth and experience to fight for the General Classification at UAE Tour
As the first UCI WorldTour race of the season, a strong field is set to contest the UAE Tour, where Astana – Premier Tech will back Kazakh national champion Alexey Lutsenko at the seven-stage race.
As two-time winner of the Tour of Oman and last year, third overall at the UAE Tour, Lutsenko’s success in the Middle East is well established.
After making his season debut at the Tour de la Provence, Lutsenko is looking to repeat or improve on last year’s result.
“The UAE Tour is an important race at the start of the season, and I would like to achieve a significant result here. Fighting for the General Classification is the main goal, I will strive to repeat the result of last year when I reached the podium. If I could improve that achievement, it would be even better. And, of course, I would like to fight for a stage victory. I was close to it last time, so I will try to win. A lot of strong riders are planning to compete here, all of them have ambitious goals, so the fight will be serious. The first start of the season was not that bad for me at the Tour de la Provence, and I felt like my form was improving day by day. Of course, it was not easy to immediately enter the racing rhythm after an almost six-month break, but our training camp and the Tour de la Provence helped me to open the season in the right way”, – says Alexey Lutsenko.
Astana – Premier Tech is bringing a strong and ambitious team to the UAE Tour, with a good mix of youth and experience, including some of the Kazakh-Canadian team’s debutants.
“There are several young guys in our squad who will be making their debut at the UAE Tour: Stefan De Bod, Samuele Battistella, and Matteo Sobrero will be wearing Astana – Premier Tech jerseys for the first time. Together with our young Kazakhstan rider Yevgeniy Gidich, the guys will have a chance to prove themselves. They will be supported by the highly experienced Luis Léon Sánchez and Dmitriy Gruzdev, who have useful qualities for any race. And, of course, our captain is a young, but already very experienced Alexey Lutsenko, who finished this race on the podium last year. Our main goal is to try to achieve the best possible result in the General Classification. The route of the race suits us with two uphill finishes and an individual time trial providing us with many opportunities to achieve our goals. The team is ready and motivated, so we will try to prove ourselves in the best possible way”, – says Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.
UAE Tour (21 – 27 February)
Rider roster: Samuele Battistella (ITA), Stefan De Bod (RSA), Yevgeniy Gidich (KAZ), Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ), Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP), Matteo Sobrero (ITA).
Sports Directors: Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ), Sergey Yakovlev (KAZ).