Born from the ashes of the Liberty-Seguros team in the wake of the Operación Puerto scandal in 2006, Astana Qazaqstan entered the sport of cycling during a hugely turbulent time.
The team’s primary purpose is to promote its home country of Kazakhstan and give Kazakh riders a platform upon which they can showcase their talents to the world. Their biggest victories, however, have been taken by their foreign riders, namely Spain’s Alberto Contador and Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali who each won a Tour de France while riding in the team’s iconic sky-blue livery.
While Astana may have won the biggest race in the sport, twice, their glory days are long over and in recent years they’ve looked more like startlist fillers than big race winners, though they will be hoping to change that in 2024.
After the departure of Vincenzo Nibali at the end of 2022, Astana brought in a new talisman in the form of Mark Cavendish, who joined the squad at the start of 2023, ostensibly for one final year. However, after a crash derailed the Manxman's hopes of beating the Tour de France stage wins record, he reversed his decision to retire and will race again for Astana in 2024.
With hopes of finally getting that 35th stage win at the Tour de France, Astana have built a strong team around Cavendish, bringing in Michael Mørkøv, Davide Ballerini and Max Kanter as lead-out men, as well as Mark Renshaw as a sports director.
Their 2024 overhaul - which saw no fewer than 14 new signings - also welcomed Ide Schelling, Lorenzo Fortunato and Anton Charmig, who will round out the team's ambitions outside of the sprints.
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