Aleksandr Vlasov is reportedly trying to break his contract with Astana in order to join Ineos Grenadiers for the 2021 season, according to reports.
The Russian had an impressive 2020, taking victories at the Giro dell’Emilia as well as the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, also placing third at Il Lombardia and 11th overall at the Vuelta a España.
Vlasov has a year to run on his contract with Astana, having only signed from Gazprom-RusVelo at the start of the season, but is said to be attempting to leave halfway through.
According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, agent Giuseppe Acquadro is trying to terminate Vlasov’s contract with Astana and pave the way for his rider to join Ineos Grenadiers.
With Gazzetta dello Sport having reported earlier in the year that Vlasov could be on his way to the British team, the climber would only further bolster Ineos’ ranks, who already count a host of uphill talent including Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, and will welcome Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Dani Martínez into their ranks next year.
Astana have grappled with financial difficulties this year, team boss Alexandre Vinokourov saying he was battling budget restrictions, forced to cut wages by 30 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic after payments were apparently already delayed at the start of the year. Vinokourov says these budget constraints would also force the squad to let star rider Miguel Ángel López leave at the end of the year.
Acquadro is familiar with these sorts of situations, having helped both Richard Carapaz and Andrey Amador leave Movistar for Ineos when they had supposedly already agreed deals with the Spanish team for the coming season.
Movistar subsequently refused to work with Acquadro in the future, while his relationship with Astana could be complicated by the fact he also represents the Izagirre brothers, Omar Fraile, Alex Aranburu, Óscar Rodríguez and Rodrigo Contreras.