Nicolas Vinokurov and Harold Martin Lopez step into the WorldTour
Two riders of Astana Qazaqstan Development Team, Nicolas Vinokurov (Kazakhstan,21) and Harold Martin Lopez (Ecuador, 22) are going to make a big step forward, joining the UCI WorldTour together with Astana Qazaqstan Team. Both riders signed a two-year deal with the team.
Nicolas Vinokurov is two-time Under 23 National Road Race Champion (2022 and 2023). Besides, Nicolas was second in the road race of the Junior National Championships of Kazakhstan in 2019, was 8th in a stage of the Tour of Romania in 2021 and was third in the road race and fourth in the individual time trial at the U23 Asian Cycling Championships in 2022. A few days ago Nicolas took a good second place in the General Classification of the Tour of Van, also taking the white jersey of the best young rider.
“Making the step up into the WorldTour team is something I dreamt about since I was a child. Astana Qazaqstan Team is like a family to me, I grew up with this team, I cheered for it and watched this team evolve with all its successes. I feel that I have made a good progress over the last few years and that I can continue to improve and show great results in the future. My goals are to help the team achieving successes and obtain some good results personally! I’m so motivated and already looking forward to the next year”, – said Nicolas Vinokurov.
Harold Martin Lopez won two stages at the Vuelta a Guatemala and finished second in the General Classification of the Vuelta al Ecuador in 2020, won the individual time trial at the U23 National Championships of Ecuador and became second in the road race at the U23 Pan American Youth Games in 2021, took a second place in a stage of the Istrian Spring Trophy and finished 12th overall at the Tour de l’Avenir in 2022. A few weeks ago, Harold Martin Lopez took a nice 9th place at the Vuelta a Burgos.
“During the last years I was working hard to improve and to reach the level good enough to become a professional rider. It was my dream to join this great team and now I can’t believe I am coming to Astana Qazaqstan. Since childhood I was watching Astana on TV, cheering for this amazing team and seeing its great successes in the Grand Tours. It is unbelievable to join this team now. I got a lot from its development team where I spent two fantastic years. I grew up as a rider and a person and now I feel ready for this new step. I’d like to thank Alexandr Vinokurov and all the management of Astana Qazaqstan Team for this chance and I will do my best to pay this trust off”, – said Harold Martin Lopez.
“After two seasons since our development team has been created, we can see that the project works in a full mode and two more riders are ready to step into the WorldTour. This is a nice moment for our project. Both riders, Nicolas and Harold Martin worked hard to try to make their dream come true. They are still very young, but I think this is the right moment for them to join our big team. Nicolas has some important results on the national and continental level, while Harold Martin already showed his potential in the races with Astana Qazaqstan Team as, for example, at the Vuelta a Burgos. A huge work is still having to be done to become a real professional rider, but I believe they are ready for it”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Photo credit: @SprintCycling