Big ambitions for Kash

Confidence boosted by his stage win and third place overall in last year's Vuelta a España, Kazakh...

An interview with Andrey Kashechkin

Confidence boosted by his stage win and third place overall in last year's Vuelta a España, Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin is hoping to go even better in 2007. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes heard what he has to say.

2006 was a breakthrough season for Astana rider Andrey Kashechkin. Winning a mountain stage and finishing on the podium of the Vuelta was undoubtedly the highlight, but there were other results which confirmed that he had stepped up a level as regards his pro career. A stage win in Paris-Nice, victory in the national road race championships, third in the Tour of Germany, third in the Clasica San Sebastian and fifth overall in the ProTour marked him out as a big threat in both stage races and one day events. Now the increasingly confident 26-year-old is heading into the new season with bigger personal and team ambitions.

"If I participate in a race, it is to try to win it," he said at the recent team training camp in Mallorca. "The Astana cycling team's objective is to win the Grand Tours. And for me, the goal is the Vuelta.

"In 2007, I will work for Vinokourov in the Tour de France and then go for personal victory in the Tour of Spain. I know that I can achieve a top result in a race of three weeks. Riding well in the 2006 Vuelta meant that I am now more confident in myself, and I hope to have an even better season this year."

Kashechkin's determination is undoubtedly boosted by what happened four months ago in Spain. He and Vinokourov gained form as the Vuelta progressed, winning a total of four stages between them and placing first and third on the podium. It was the first ever Grand Tour victory for Vino, and the best ever result in a three week stage race for Kash.

For the full feature on Andrei Kashechkin, please click here.

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