Astana shows off updated jersey and introduces new sponsors
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Astana shows off updated jersey and introduces new sponsors

by Kyle Moore at 9:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Vinokourov details new contributors, charitable donations, and his new book in profitable times for Kazakh team

AstanaAstana Pro Team was one of the first WorldTour squads to reveal its updated look for the upcoming season, with the new jersey being debuted at a press conference that general manager Alexander Vinokourov also used to announce his new charity fund and his new coffee table book.

The new Astana kit looks much like the old one, exhibiting as always the national colours of Kazakhstan. The major difference is the inclusion of a prominent new sponsor – the national airline of Kazakhstan, Air Astana. Vinokourov also noted the addition of a second non-governmental sponsor, to go along with Astana Motors.

“The blue and gold national colours of Kazakhstan are unique in pro cycling, and they make our riders very distinct in the peloton,” Vinokourov stated. “We are fortunate to remain with our main sponsor, the national welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna, and join their Astana Presidential Club of sports teams. Those logos will retain a place of pride on our race clothing.

“On the chest we change to the national airline Air Astana, though we retain the Expo 2017 logos on team vehicles and printed materials. For 2014 our first non-governmental sponsor Astana Motors is joined by Raimbek Group, a diverse holding company with more than 20 years of active and successful business ventures in Kazakhstan and around the world.”

Vinokourov thanked his increasing number of contributors for helping to bolster the team, and its ability to make an impact in the Kazakh community. With 15 wins and numerous podium finishes in 2013, Astana’s sponsors will hope to get their money’s worth again next year.

“Thanks to these sponsors we can race at the highest level of the sport. What's more, we have begun to give back here in Kazakhstan, organizing our first ever UCI-sanctioned international race in October at the Tour of Almaty, as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“I sold my London Olympic Specialized bicycle to pay for critical surgical operations that some very sick kids needed,” the Olympic champion revealed. “So far, four have gone to specialist hospitals in the former Soviet Union to get treatments, and the others are still waiting for donors. It's very specific aid to specific families who live in underprivileged circumstances," Vinokurov said.

“This summer I sold another one of my bikes after a charity bike ride here in Kazakhstan and raised even more money for neonatal operations. With the opening of a charity fund we can expand our ambitions to include getting more kids to ride bikes, putting on more charity bike rides and eventually growing to work with international and governmental organizations to create more professional racing opportunities in Kazakhstan.”

Vinokourov also debuted his first ever book, a coffee table-style publication of photographs. Entitled ‘My Golden Career – 1998-2012,’ the book features photos from Vino’s career, as well as shots that depict his upbringing in Kazakhstan.

“A lot of the pictures in it are from races, but many more are from the small village of Bishkul where I grew up and from my first experiences as a cyclist in Kazakhstan,” Vinokourov explained. “The publishers, designers and editors went and found snapshots that really show what a long road my career has been, and I hope that young readers will be inspired because of this book to try cycling as a healthy lifestyle.

“Those who know me know that bike racing is my life, and that the other side of the gold medal is the long road to a professional career. After so many difficult seasons of washing in a bucket outside a school dormitory, or rebuilding my form and fitness after injuries that seemed career-ending, just getting to the start line in London is a lesson I hope to share with young athletes in Kazakhstan who read this book.”

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