Team Astana - Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye.

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The New York Times and other sources are reporting that Team Astana might be about to go the Kazakhstan version of Chapter 11. Only without that whole “restructuring” part.

Astana was launched by a number of Kazakhastan business leaders who wanted to promote tourism and business development in the country. (That’s a great trivia question for cyclists incidentally–no one I ask knows what Astana is.) Seems that the economy is not exactly booming in the former Soviet republic, and the holding company that pays the bills, isn’t.

The UCI has given the team a deadline of the end of the month to get their ducks in a row, or they’re out of the UCI.

There’s not a lot of chance that the Astana team will be saved internally, it might be up to Lance to purchase himself the team in order to compete in the Tour in July.

If not, I’m looking forward to the ebay listing for the team. “Professional cycling team, slightly used but in A++ condition. Includes three Tour de France contenders, one who won eight times. Includes bicycles, uniforms, team trailers and more. Some small unfounded doping allegations, and a recently fractured collarbone. No reserve.”


I still wonder what Vino’s suspension has to do with it. He’ll be back in time for the Vuelta, and we all know Astana was built around him as a kind of Soviet-throwback nationalism.

I’d accuse Katusha of the same if they had Menchov or any other major Russian contender, but you might say Slipstream is doing the same, less overtly, for Anglophones.

Naw, it’s an entirely different team and why there was so much controversy last year with them and the tour. Discovery became Astana and they cleaned house. I think more interesting is Lance’s return has been challenging with crashes, flats, and now financial issues. Lance rode 7 tours never flatted.

While I’m sure the team will somehow operate this year, Armstrong’s track record with title sponsors isn’t improving.  And we all thought Rock Racing would fold first. 

From a management/roster perspective, Astana is indeed a “different team” than it used to be, but when it comes to money, this thing is… OK, was…  being run out of Astana, Kazakhstan, and we know Vino has a few connections there.  A little pushback getting him on the roster could go a long way to vaporize those financial commitments.

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