No Astana role for Rominger
Former Tour of Switzerland and Romandy boss Marc Biver takes charge at Astana, who are also interest
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
The Astana team has revealed that former pro Tony Rominger will not be taking on a management role with them as was previously expected. Instead, Rominger’s Swiss colleague Marc Biver has been appointed the team’s boss by the prime minister of Kazakhstan, Danial Akhmetov.
Biver, a former director of the Tours of Switzerland and Romandy, confirmed on Wednesday “the Astana team will have a licence that is 100 per cent Kazakh and will have nothing to do with the former [management] team run by Manolo Saiz”.
“The team should have its integration into the ProTour formalised,” said Biver, who also added the squad would contain at least six Kazakh riders. Former T-Mobile boss Walter Godefroot has been confirmed as taking on an advisory role with the team.
Godefroot is hoping to appoint T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer into a similar role with Astana following Kummer’s recent release by T-Mobile. “I will recommend Mario Kummer to our manager. He is a man with large degree of commitment,” said Godefroot. “I do not think he was treated correctly by T-mobile.”
The team was given a timely boost on Wednesday when Kazakh rider Assan Bazayev took what he described as “the most important victory of my career” at the Deutschland Tour. It was Bazayev’s first win since 2004, when the overall at the Tour of Hellas in Greece. Last year, he impressed at the Tour de l’Avenir, winning the points jersey and finishing third overall.
Despite Wednesday’s bunch sprint win, Bazayev, said: “I am not a pure sprinter, but I am fast and I climb pretty well. The key of the victory was getting on Erik Zabel’s wheel.” Team leader Alexandre Vinokourov later revealed the Kazakh president is hoping for another stage win at the Deutschland Tour as the squad presses its claim for inclusion in the ProTour.