Astana will launch a new women’s team under the official name Astana-Acca Due O beginning for the 2015 season. Retired time trial specialist Zulfia Zabirova and Maurizio Fabretto will lead a team of 15 mostly development riders next year.
“The project in very exciting,” said Zabirova, supervisor of the entire sport management. “And so is the challenge: long-term goal is to bring Astana to be the first team in the world within four years.
“During the last edition of Asia Championship and World Championship we saw encouraging things by young Kazakhs, we have very professional coaches and sport directors, and I'm sure that they'll know how to let them show their full potential.”
According to a recent press release, the women’s team’s success will be based on a multi-year plan and they will hired development riders who can grow over the seasons without pressure. The main focus is also to develop Kazakh women’s cycling. The team will be registered in Kazakhstan, however, the roster will include riders from eastern Europe, and will continue running its headquarters in Cornuda, Italy.
This year, the Astana-BePink team placed third in the team time trial at the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Belarus champion Alena Amialiusik secured the team multiple victories, however, she has signed a contract with Velocio-SRAM for next year.
Zabirova is a former Olympic gold medallist and World Champion in the time trial, and competed under the title sponsor of Acca Due O during her career, along with USC Chirio and Bigla.