Astana announce new headline sponsor after financial difficulty

The Kazakhstani team has had financial troubles this year during the pandemic

Astana has announced a new headline sponsor for 2021 after the team from Kazakhstan struggled for funds this year.

The squad announced  on Monday (November 16) that current kit sponsor  Premier Tech will become a joint title sponsor of Astana-Premier Tech for the 2021 season.

News comes after a series of issues regarding money during the 2020 season, including the team struggling to pay staff earlier in the year.

Back in March team manager Alexandre Vinokourov, revealed that the riders and staff had not been paid since the start of the year, following similar issues in 2018.

Vinokourov also said that he had to cut wages by 30 per cent during the forced pandemic off-season as their budget was cut.

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On the new sponsorship Astana managing director, Yana Seel said: "The task was given of reducing the funding of a professional cycling team from Kazakhstan through the entry of a second partner co-sponsor who could share the financial burden with our country.

"The name of the team for the next year will be changed, but at the same time, the team will continue to exist under the auspices of Kazakhstan, despite the fact that funding from the general partner of Samruk-Kazyna JSC will be significantly reduced.

"We will continue to glorify the name of Kazakhstan as well as the name of our new Canadian partner Premier Tech in the global sports arena."

The team has been forced to part ways with their star climber Miguel Ángel López due to budget constraints.

Rumours also suggest that their young Russian star, Aleksandr Vlasov, is looking to break his contract and join Ineos Grenadiers.

Yana Seel continued: "Discussions are currently underway to create a children's and youth cycling team 'Astana – Premier Tech Team Kids', which will be funded within the existing budget and based in Kazakhstan and Canada.

"Thus, the two countries will be able to exchange with the experience and to grow a new generation to further maintain cycling at the highest level in both countries."

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.

Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.

When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.

He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.