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.

>>> Alex Dowsett’s Strava offers insight into his Hour Record training

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."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm 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. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.