Astana – Premier Tech aims for strong start at Tour de la Provence
After the cancellation of the first planned race Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana earlier this month, Astana – Premier Tech is ready to pin race numbers on the new jerseys and kick off the 2021 season at the 2.Pro stage race Tour de la Provence, from February 11th to 14th.
Bringing a solid roster to the French race, the Kazakh-Canadian team is aiming for a strong and successful start to the season with the team’s impressive line up featuring Gorka Izagirre, winner of the 2019 edition of the race, and Aleksand Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko, who rounded out the final podium as well as the point and young classification jerseys in 2020.
“I know this race pretty well and I won it in 2019. Of course, this edition differs a lot from the race I won two years ago, but I still like it and I think our team can get something important here. I have been waiting for the start of the season with great expectation and impatience and I am happy to begin the year at the Tour de la Provence. We are coming there with a very strong team and our goal is to try to win it. I am ready to support my teammates and to provide them with all my help and experience”, – says Gorka Izagirre, the overall winner of the Tour de la Provence 2019.
“I have very beautiful memories from last year when I debuted for Astana Pro Team and won my first race in the Astana jersey. Honestly, I did not expect to be in such good form so early in the season, but I was really happy to bring that stage victory to the team and to step onto the final podium. This year I expect the race will turn out a bit differently for me as my main goal here is to feel the racing rhythm and to build the form. I am going to use the race as preparation towards my next races. In the same time I will be happy to help my teammates, who will be aiming to get more from this race”, – adds Aleksandr Vlasov, stage winner, best young rider and runner-up in 2020.
“Together with the team, we prepared well for the season, firstly at the training camp in Benidom and recently in Teide. I had quite a big break from racing since last year’s Tour de France, but, actually, I feel pretty good and I am coming to this start of the season with good form. However, we have to see how the race will go on, but I hope the form will be at the same level I had at the start of last season, because our ambitions are high and our team can fight for a good result in the General Classification”, – resumes Alexey Lutsenko, third in the General Classification in 2020.
Having Ion Izagirre, Omar Fraile, Alex Aranburu, and Harold Tejada completing the roster, the team is confident ahead of the first race of the season.
Team Performance Manager Dmitriy Fofonov considers Tour de la Provence as a good opportunity to evaluate all the work done during the off-season period as well as a chance to open the year with a nice result.
“There is no doubt that we have a very strong and well-balanced roster, and the route of the race suits us quite well. The second part of January and the first half of February we used productively to do some additional work both at the training camps and at home, so I think we are ready to open this season in a good way. I think the guys are feeling good and of course, it would be nice to start the year with a beautiful result. However, the main goal is to test our form, to feel the race and to compare our level with the rivals. In four days of racing, we will have a chance to ride through different kind of landscapes, with the riders getting an opportunity to show themselves in the hills and even high mountains. So, we are looking forward to coming back into racing already tomorrow”, – says Dmitriy Fofonov.
Tour de la Provence (11 – 14 February)
Rider roster: Alex Aranburu (ESP), Omar Fraile (ESP), Gorka Izagirre (ESP), Ion Izagirre (ESP), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ), Harold Tejada (COL), Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS).
Sports Directors: Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ), Bruno Cenghialta (ITA).
Photo credit: @Gettysport