Astana's Artyom Zakharov has signed for a further season with the Kazakh team, and will continue to combine the road and track as he builds towards representing his nation on the track at the 2020 Olympic Games.
"During these past few years, I've enjoyed giving my all to help my teammates win races, and it's been a pleasure that in many of the races I've taken part in, our leaders have won or reached the podium," said Zakharov in a press release, having been with the team since the start of the 2017 season.
"I'm ready to continue to help the team in reaching its important goals. Of course, I'd like to achieve some personal results, too, and hope that in the upcoming season I'll have a few chances to show myself," he continued.
"The Olympic Games are the biggest goal and dream for any athlete, and I'm doing my best to qualify for Tokyo. It's very important for me to stay at Astana during the Olympic year because the team provides me with all the best conditions to train and to prepare for the Games," he said.
Zakharov is currently racing at the Hong Kong round of the UCI Track World Cup, and hopes to be able to qualify for the Kazakh Olympic team for the omnium in the coming months.
On the road, the 28-year-old was the national road race champion in 2017, but is principally a team player, riding in the service of Astana's leaders, and was this season part of the squads that won the overall title at the Tour of Oman with Alexey Lutsenko and the Tour of Almaty with Yuriy Natarov, as well as helping Merhawi Kudus to third place overall at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.
"Artyom is a good and loyal rider, who is always ready to support the team's leader," said team manager Alexandre Vinokourov. "Of course, at this time of the year his main goal is to gain Olympic qualification in the omnium, and this is very important for our team and for Kazakhstan.
"Zakharov will have a busy December with three track World Cups, and we hope he can do well in those competitions," he added. "He is sevnth in the [UCI] omnium rankings, which is good, and he'll of course be very useful for our team in road races next season as well, so I'm happy that he's staying with Astana."