Vinokourov says Astana's future is secure until 2020

Team manager believes Lopez can finish on Giro d'Italia podium

Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov was in Israel for the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia and confirmed that he has secured the future of his Astana team until at least 2020.

The WorldTour team was reportedly struggling to secure funding for daily operations at the start of the season after the Kazakh government failed to make any contract payments in the first part of 2018.

Vinokourov revealed the financial problems in an interview with the Kazakh publication Vesti.kz, published in late February, in an attempt to force the government’s arm.

His actions appeared to have worked, with the Astana riders also showing their worth with a series of victories in the first few months of the season. Alexey Lutsenko won the Tour of Oman, Michael Valgren won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Amstel Gold Race, while Astana won three out of five stages at the Tour of the Alps, while Miguel Angel Lopez finished third overall, thus confirming his potential for the Giro d’Italia

"The problems have been resolved for at least the next two seasons," Vinokourov told La Gazzetta dello Sport. According to the Italian sports newspaper, the Astana team will have a budget of around €17 million in 2019, with the hope of securing a further €2-3 million to help sign a major team leader.

Vinokourov also said that he was hopeful that Lopez would perform well at the Giro d’Italia. Jakob Fuglsang will lead Astana at the Tour de France.

"He’s got to believe he can finish on the podium," Vinokourov said of Lopez. 

The Astana team manager added that he is now on good terms with Fabio Aru after the Sardinian left Astana to join UAE Team Emirates this season. Vinokourov had threatened to take legal action after Astana was left without a big-name Grand Tour leader. 

"Fabio and I still have a good relationship. We said hello here at the Giro d’Italia and I wished him all the best for a good Giro."

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