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Sáiz's team becomes Astana-Würth

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
June 03, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 23:15 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for June 3, 2006

The cycling team of Manolo Sáiz and Pablo Antón has a new sponsor: Astana, the capital of...

The cycling team of Manolo Sáiz and Pablo Antón has a new sponsor: Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The team's management company Active Bay announced this on Friday, saying that the deal would be for at least three years, with the possibility of an expansion to six, and the team will now be known as Astana-Würth. The new sponsor is endorsed by five of the biggest companies in Kazakhstan, which is enjoying a strong economical upturn thanks to its abundant natural resources.

The Kazakhstani connection is to support Alexandre Vinokourov, who was to be the team's spearhead in the Tour de France. However, the Tour organisers ASO are not happy about having a team headed by Manolo Sáiz in their race: apart from the latest doping affair, Sáiz was also a strong supporter of the ProTour when it was introduced by the UCI in 2004. However, it is up to the Spanish federation to possibly sanction Sáiz, and it will not start any proceedings until the current court case allows it.

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