ASTANA – The Astana Pro cycling team and its captain Italian Vincenzo Nibali finished the July 4-26 Tour de France fourth overall.
After 21 stages of one of the most prestigious road cycling competitions, team Astana finished fourth overall in the team standings. This year team Astana was a heavy favourite after the win last year. However, the Kazakhstan-based team only managed to win one stage during the nearly three-week endeavour. Team General Manager and 2012 Olympic Champion Alexandre Vinokourov rated the team’s Tour de France performance as C plus in an interview with a local media news agency.
“After the victory at the Tour [de France] last year and a memorable Giro d’Italia, we certainly wanted more,” Vinokourov told vesti.kz. “This year our performance can be rated C plus, but it’s sports. We trained as last year. We will analyse the situation and try and understand what we lacked later. Next year we will change some plans and perhaps we will start training earlier, perhaps we will train on mountainous terrain. [This year] we [have to settle] for the ‘wood medal’ both in team standings and in individual. It is a little disappointing. If only there was one more place on the podium…”
“The top three were very close until stage 20,” he continued. “But luck was not on our side, everybody saw that Nibali had his tire deflated. We weren’t lucky from the very beginning and it stuck to the very end. But, fortunately we still got one stage, we tuned Nibali in and the whole team. It wasn’t easy but we all believed in our capability. We saw the last day that everyone tried their best. Kangert, Fuglsang and Grivko kept getting away from the pack. But there was no luck. As they say, the fortune favours the strong. This time it was [Christopher] Froome.”
After nine flat, three hill, seven mountain and five altitude stages along with one individual time-trial and one team time-trial, Brit Christopher Froome of team SKY was 1.12 minutes ahead of Columbian Rojas Quintana of MOVIESTAR and 5.12 ahead of Spaniard Belmonte Valverde. Nibali finished 8.36 minutes behind the leader. The rest of team Astana finished as follows: Tanel Kangert 22nd, Jakob Fulsang 23rd, Michele Scarponi 41st, Andriy Grivko 64th, Lieuwe Westra 77th and Dmitriy Gruzdev 131st.