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2014 Vuelta a España: Stage 4

ST5 : Vuelta a España :: Priego de Cordoba-Ronda – 180km

“It was unexpected when Tinkoff went to the side of the road and opened up gaps in the crosswind -“

“I closed the hole for Aru and Landa and brought them to the front just when the race was getting crazy for the General Classification -“

Alexey Lutsenko after stage five at the Vuelta a España – a hot, mostly flat day with an expected sprint finish -

Lutsenko was attentive at precisely the moment when the peloton began to speed up and come apart, led by teams intent on breaking up the race in the crosswinds -

With experience, riders learn to watch their rivals in these tense moments, and anticipate the chess moves that determine race strategy -

Lutsenko’s sharp eyes kept his teammates Fabio Aru, Mikel Landa and Tanel Kangert safe in their General Classification times ahead of Thursday’s first mountain stage -

Andrea Guardini slipped and fell early in the race on his left side – he was not seriously injured, and was active until crosswinds split him and Andrey Zeits from the main bunch -

Vuelta Spagna 2014

ST4 : Vuelta a España :: Mairena del Alcor-Córdoba – 164km

“The stage finish was fast – but the whole day was so hot – 46 degrees -“

Fabio Aru after stage four at the Vuelta a España – two short but steep climbs before a sprint finish in Córdoba -

Aru finished 10th on the day, in the same time as the stagewinner and all of the General Classification favorites -

With the help of teammate Paolo Tiralongo in the finale, and the rest of the team during the hot, sunny day, Aru saved valuable seconds before Thursday’s first real mountain stage -

The average temperature for most of Tuesday’s stage was in fact closer to 40 degrees, but on an asphalt road under direct sunlight the thermometers inside Astana’s SRM powermeter computers showed a maximum of 46 C – 114 F -

Vuelta Spagna 2014

ST3 : Vuelta a España :: Cádiz – Arcos de la Frontera – 197km

“The first week is nervous – everyone wants to be at the front and nobody is tired -“

Alexey Lutsenko after stage three at the Vuelta a España, an extremely hot day of mountains and sprints -

Lutsenko rode with the protection of his teammates all day in order to be able to contest the final sprint – a 1.5km twisting uphill road into the Andalusian town of Arcos -

The incline proved too difficult and at 800m Lutsenko watched as the top riders in General Classification all passed him, including teammates Fabio Aru and Tanel Kangert, who finished seven seconds behind stagewinner Michael Matthews of Australia, while Lutsenko rode in 48 seconds back -

More significant than the time differences on Monday was the typical baking heat of southern Spain’s interior mountains – at the finish the riders came across dripping with sweat and screaming for water as the sun beat down with 38 degrees on their heads -

Daniil Fominykh, riding in his first Grand Tour, spent the whole day shuttling back and forth to the team car to retrieve water and electrolyte replacement drinks for his teammates -

With each rider needing as many as ten liters of fluids over five hours, Fominykh said he lost count of how many 500ml bottles he stuffed into his jersey -

Monday’s stage was also unusual at the start in Cadiz, where all the riders began the day on board a Spanish aircraft carrier from the country’s navy -

 

2014 Giro d'Italia - Stage 21 Finale

Vattenfall Cyclassics : Hamburg-Hamburg – 245km

“The final 5k were completely crazy – everything came apart in the sprint -“

Borut Bozic after Germany’s only World Tour calendar race, the Vattenfall Cyclassics -

With unusually cold weather for August – 15 degrees and at times rainy – the race plan for Astana Pro Team in Hamburg was to work for Bozic in the anticipated final sprint after the hilly circuits around the port city -

Teammates Enrico Gasparotto and Andrei Grivko both attacked in the final passage up the hills, and with 10k to go Ruslan Tleubayev was next to Bozic to bring him into a good position at the finish -

But with almost 15km of flat chasing on narrow streets with many technical turns and traffic rotundas, the peloton turned itself inside out like a sock, and pushed leading riders backwards while bringing non-sprinters forward -

Tleubayev finished in the same time as the winner – but in 14th position – and Bozic was in the same time at 34th, with Gasparotto, Grivko, Arman Kamyshev and Valerio Agnoli all in the first group of 58 riders -

Vuelta Spagna 2014

ST2 : Vuelta a España :: Algeciras-San Fernando – 174.4km

“C’est la vie…my front wheel flatted 7km before the finish – Zeits waited for me, but it was too late to get back to the front -“

Andrea Guardini after stage two at the Vuelta a España – a hot, windy day that touched the waters of two seas -

Guardini was a strong favorite for the expected sprint finish, and Astana Pro Team worked for the Italian sprinter all day to keep him protected as the race climbed a series of short, steep hills away from Algeciras on the Mediterranean coast -

After 50km the race reached the open waters of the Atlantic coast and turned north, with a strong tailwind pushing them along the road to Cadiz -

A nervous peloton at the beginning of a three-week Grand Tour meant the riders fought for position at the front of the race, and with 10km to go Guardini was well-placed as the race crossed a low bridge into a strong headwind and prepared to finish in a mass sprint -

But the untimely misfortune of a flat tire meant Guardini was no longer racing at the front, and despite a quick, professional wheel change from the following team car and the strong legs of veteran Kazakh rider Andrey Zeits to bring him back into the group, for Guardini the next chance at a wide, flat, fast sprint in his style will most likely not come again until Tuesday – 

But Andrea and Astana Pro Team will be ready -

 

Vuelta Spagna 2014

ST1 Vuelta a España :: Jerez de la Frontera (TTT) 12.6km

“We rode at our maximum, but the stage wasn’t for us – tomorrow we have a pure sprint finish, and we will work for Guardini for the victory -“

 

Alexey Lutsenko after stage one at the Vuelta a España – a short team time trial through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Jerez on a hot summer evening in August -

Lutsenko and all eight teammates finished 13th out of 22 teams, 30 seconds behind stagewinners Movistar, from Spain – 

With two designated riders for General Classification – Tanel Kangert and Fabio Aru – Astana comes to the Vuelta with ambitions solidly grounded in reality against a strong and motivated field of riders – but a Top-5 finish in three weeks time is fully possible – 

More likely in the short term is a strong fight for stage wins, starting on Sunday with an expected sprint finish along the Atlantic coast in San Fernando -

Lutsenko worked with teammate Andrea Guardini most recently in Denmark, where the Italian rider won two sprint stages and the Kazakh was the winner of the tough individual time trial in Middelfart – 

2014 Fleche Wallonne

Vatenfall Cyclassic – 24.8.14

Astana Pro Team for the 2014 Vatenfall Cyclassic in Hamburg, DE

  • Аньоли :: Agnoli – ITA
  • Бозич :: Bozic – SLO
  • Гаспаротто :: Gasparotto – ITA
  • Гавацци :: Gavazzi – ITA
  • Гривко :: Grivko – UKR
  • Иглинский В :: Iglinskiy V – KAZ
  • Тлеубаев :: Tleubayev – KAZ
  • Камышев :: Kamyshev – KAZ

Горазд Штангель ::DS:: Gorazd Stangelj