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A second team for Kazakhstan

Defending champion Vino will lead Astana into battle

Defending champion Vino will lead Astana into battle (Image credit: Sirotti)

The Kazakh cycling federation has announced that First Division team Astana will receive some support next year, as the creation of a second Kazakh team has been revealed. The project, named Astana-2, will exclusively include Kazakh riders and serve as a development squad for the team now headed by Alexandre Vinokourov.

The federation hopes to receive a Professional Continental license for the new outfit, but nothing has been finalised yet.

Up-and-coming Kazakh riders such as national time trial champion and Tour of Qinghai Lake second-placed Dmitryi Gruzdev, as well as Arman Kamyshev, Ruslan Tleubayev and Alexandre Shushemoin, should integrate the team in view of of a later career at the highest level.

Vinokourov's Astana team currently counts 12 professional riders from Kazakhstan, but with the 37-year-old inevitably hanging up the bike in the near future, a successor for the charismatic leader still has to be found.