The Tour de Bretagne Cycliste is a cycling race of special interest for junior teams like Astana Continental whose roster features a large number U-23 category riders. The event, also known as the Tour de Bretagne trophee des granitiers, is held in the Brittany peninsula in north-west France. The event, which only became a professional race in 2005, completed its 50th annual edition in 2016.
Held usually early in the calendar year in April-May, the Tour offers young up-and-coming riders a rare chance to rub shoulders with elite riders who also participate in the event. The 2014 edition of the event saw the young riders from Astana Continental face-off against a field of quality riders from teams like Vendee U from France, Etixx from Czech Republic and the Rabobank Development Team from the Netherlands, as well as the US national squad.
The high point of the event for the team from Kazakhstan had to be Vadim Galeyev’s superb performance in the stage 2 of the road race. Galeyev, a Kazakh rider aged 22 that year, came into the race with a string of half decent performances in other events in the region. These were the Tour de Normandie (France) and Le Triptyque de Monts et Chateaux (Belgium).
The 48th Tour de Bretagne road race involved 7 different stages, totalling around 1200km in all. The second stage, from Vay to Mauron, is around 186km long. Vadim Galeyev of Astana Continental surprised everyone with an unexpected victory in this stage 2 of the Tour de Bretagne 2014 with a finishing time of 4:30:34. The second place went to Manzin Lorrenzo of France, while Looij Andre of the Rabobank Development Team Rounded off the top 3.
Italian rider Marco Benfatto rounded off a great stage for Astana Continental, finishing in 6th position. After these two Astana Continental rides in the top ten, the team also had 3 other riders who finished further down the pack, with Pavel Gatskiy (+2:27 minutes), Sergey Shemyakin and Dimitriy Rive (+9:49 minutes) finishing outside the top 100.
Though Vadim Galeyev put Astana Continental on the podium with that stage victory, the team’s most consistent performer overall was the Italian Michele Scartezzini. In the overall GC rankings, Scartezzini was the highest ranked Astana rider in 39th position. He also finished just outside the top 10 in Points classifications, settling for 11th with 39 points overall. With a strong 25th position in the Mountains stage and 18th in the Youth category, Scartezzini continued to impress for Astana.
Vadim Galeyev went on to have a good season with Astana, with winning performance on home soil in the Asian Cycling Championships later that year. He particularly impressed towards the end of the year with strong stage victories in both Tour of China I and Tour of China II. It does not come as a surprise that when Astana Continental was disbanded in 2014, Galeyev was still a part of successive Astana junior teams. He was retained as part of the Seven Rivers Cycling Squad, and in 2016 maintained his place on the team when they reformed as the Astana City cycling team.