Synergy Baku Cycling team seeking to accelerate growth plans after Tour of China win
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Synergy Baku Cycling team seeking to accelerate growth plans after Tour of China win

by Shane Stokes at 9:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Azerbaijan team clocked up thirteen UCI wins in first season

Kirill PozdnyakovEncouraged by a strong first season plus victory in the recent Tour of China with Kirill Pozdnyakov, the Synergy Baku Cycling squad wants to accelerate its plans and move forward the timeframe for going from Continental to Pro Continental status.

The team was set up this year with public and private backing from Azerbaijan. The aim of the team – and the overall Baku Cycling Project - is to raise the level of both the cyclists from that country and also the domestic racing scene.

According to David McQuaid, the successes of year one are a factor in the more ambitious growth plans, and so too upcoming changes in the rules of the sport.

“The plan at the start was to turn Pro Continental in 2016, but we have brought it forward to 2015 based on the success of this season, and the fact that there are plans of the UCI that will affect Continental teams riding HC ranked events. These events like Langkawi, Qinghai and others are important to our team’s development.”

Directed by former WorldTour rider Jeremy Hunt, the squad has clocked up thirteen UCI wins this year. Five of those were by the Russian rider Kirill Pozdnyakov, who won stage six of this weeks Tour of China I and with it, the overall.

The stage win saw him finish one second ahead of four other riders, with Jose Isidro Goncalves of La Pomme Marseille taking the runner-up slot on the stage. Pozdnyakov ended up the same second clear of Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez and Goncalves in the final overall standings.

He said that it was almost certain that he would remain part of the team next season. “It is true that there are Continental Pro and World Tour teams that I have done tests for, and received an offer. But 99% sure I stay for 2014 in the Baku team. It’s the best one for me…the team, and particular the staff, is excellent,” he stated.

He said that he won the 2.1 ranked race by keeping his powder dry until the right moment. “We’ve won too many stages early in stage races. I learnt from Taiwan. I showed my strength there on stage one, where I won. I learned something. [David] McCann and Hunt are correct…stay strong and quiet until last day.”

McCann, who raced in Asia for many years and has taken up a directeur sportif position with the team, said that the tactic paid off. “We played our cards at the right time. Today was always going to be a decisive stage,” he stated. “In the end it was a fantastic route with good roads, and the strongest man won.”

The Synergy Baku squad will next ride in the upcoming Tour of China II, the second such stage race in the country. Pozdnyakov said that because the route is much flatter, that he will ride for the team’s sprinters there.


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