Astana rider sidelined from Giro line-up, replaced by Kazakh rider
Fredrik Kessiakoff may have been dropped from Astana's Giro d'Italia team but the 30-year-old Swede is confident that he can have a successful second part to the season.
The former mountain biker had been pencilled in to ride the Giro all through the winter and early part of the sping. However, the team decided to make a late change, dropping Kessiakoff in order to give his slot to a home-grown rider from Kazakhstan.
"I have full respect for whatever the team decides," Kessiakoff told Cyclingnews. "I'm a paid rider and the team is about results and promoting the team in the best possible way. Yes, I was pre-selected for the race and had been talking about riding the Giro for a long time but the team decided to put in a Kazakh rider. It's a Kazakh team and they wanted to see a better national representation in the line-up. Of course I'm disappointed but I respect their decision."
Kessiakoff was adamant that he had no problem putting his personal wishes aside for the team. "I've had the Giro as an objective for a long time and I was certainly trying to build up for it and be there in the best possible shape to help out Roman Kreuziger. At the same time it's not a surprise that these things happen. I'm a paid rider and I'm paid to go where the team tells me and if they want a better set-up for the team then that's their decision."
The decision to sub Kessiakoff leaves him without any planned races for the rest of the season, although he is hopeful of making Astana's selection for the Tour de Suisse and the Vuelta. However, he admits that a Tour de France slot is not on the cards.
"My race schedule only went up until the Giro and that's all I was focusing on. I was just going to take the second part of the season as it comes. So at the moment I don't have any races and I'm waiting to finalise the second part of the season with my team."
Kessiakoff signed a two-year deal with Astana at the end of 2010. He rode one season with Garmin-Transitions - now Garmin-Cervelo - but left the team after a disappointing year affected by a loss of form and a horrendous crash at the Volta ao Algarve.
"Last year was very difficult and this year I'd made some adjustments and it improved my health. My form has improved and lately I've been training harder and harder and going deeper in races. I was hoping to show that in the Giro. I'm a lot better than last year and I'm still happy with the way things are going. So I'm optimistic about the second part of the season."
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