Lutsenko extends with Astana-Premier Tech and Steve Bauer joins staff

Stage winner Team Astana rider Kazakhstans Alexey Lutsenko celebrates as he crosses the finish line of the 6th stage of the 107th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 191 km between Le Teil and Mont Aigoual on September 3 2020 Photo by Christophe Ena POOL AFP Photo by CHRISTOPHE ENAPOOLAFP via Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Alexey Lutsenko will remain at Astana-Premier Tech in 2021, while the team also confirmed the arrival of Steve Bauer and Dmitriy Muravyev as sports directors as a back-room transformation continues.

Lutsenko claimed the biggest win of his career at this year’s Tour de France, when he soloed to victory at Mont Aigoual on stage 6. The Kazakhstani champion was an outsider for the subsequent World Championships in Imola but he was forced to withdraw from the race after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The 28-year-old was out of contract at the end of this season, but he has decided to remain with Astana, where he has spent his entire career. He stepped up from Astana’s Continental team to the WorldTour outfit after winning the under-23 road race at the World Championships in Valkenburg in 2012.

“I think I have improved significantly over the last few years and achieved many great results, which have been my goals for many years. Despite a difficult year, I still had a good season,” Lutsenko said in a statement released by Astana-Premier Tech on Wednesday.

“Of course, the stage win at the Tour de France was the best moment. I am happy that the team wants to continue our journey. I am looking forward to achieving new goals and developing further as a rider. I will stay another year with this team, which makes me really happy. The team believes in me and shares my visions and goals.”

Lutsenko is the final rider to be announced on the 2021 roster, which Astana-Premier Tech confirmed will feature 31 riders. 

Miguel Angel Lopez has left Astana for Movistar, but Jakob Fuglsang and Aleksandr Vlasov are among those remaining with the team.

In the statement on Wednesday, Astana-Premier Tech confirmed that Steve Bauer will join as a directeur sportif for 2021. The former maillot jaune’s arrival follows the announcement that Canadian company Premier Tech will come on board as the team’s first title sponsor from outside of Kazakhstan. Bauer was sporting manager at CCC Team in 2020, having previously worked with BMC and as manager of the SpiderTech team.

“The change will begin the next chapter for me, working with a new group of management, staff and riders,” said Bauer, who placed fourth overall in the 1988 Tour. 

“As a Canadian, it is especially exciting to have Premier Tech as a co-title sponsor of the team in 2021. I look forward to meeting the team at January camp and I am motivated to work hard with everyone to achieve the sporting goals that will be set out.”

Former Astana rider Dmitriy Muravyev has also been added as a directeur sportif. The Kazakhstani rode had two stints with the team before hanging up his wheels in 2014. 

“I will use my knowledge and experience in my new work, but I am also ready to absorb new things and continue to learn in order to share what I already know and what I will learn with the trainers, who are working in Kazakhstan,” said Muravyev.

Bauer and Muravyev replace longstanding directeurs sportifs Alexandr Shefer and Dmitri Sedoun on the Astana-Premier Tech staff. Dmitriy Fofonov, Bruno Cenghialta, Giuseppe Martinelli, Stefano Zanini and Sergey Yakovlev will stay with the team in 2021. Alexandre Vinokourov remains as general manager but appears to have less influence on the running of the team.  

In the statement, Astana managing director Yana Seel thanked Shefer and Sedoun – as well as departing riders Lopez, Laurens De Vreese, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Daniil Fominykh and Hernando Bohorquez – for their contributions.

“All of them did amazing work for the team over the years and gave it their all every day. We want to thank them for everything and wish all of them the best of luck for their future,” she said.

“It’s important to mention that we kept 9 Kazakhstani riders in our roster and added another Canadian rider next to Hugo Houle, which is important for the projects we will start for the youth in Kazakhstan and Canada.”

Astana-Premier Tech 2021 final roster: Alex Aranburu, Samuele Battistella, Manuele Boaro, Gleb Brussenskiy, Stefan De Bod, Rodrigo Contreras, Yevgeniy Fedorov, Fabio Felline, Omar Fraile, Jakob Fuglsang, Yevgeniy Gidich, Jonas Gregaard Wilsly, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Hugo Houle, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Merhawi Kudus, Alexey Lutsenko, Davide Martinelli, Yuriy Natarov, Benjamin Perry, Andrea Piccolo, Vadim Pronskiy, Oscar Rodriguez, Javier Romo, Luis Leon Sanchez, Matteo Sobrero, Nikita Stalnov, Harold Tejada, Aleksandr Vlasov, Artyom Zakharov

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