Vadim Galeyev’s dramatic stage victory in the historic Tour de Bretagne gave Astana Continental a massive boost in the ultimately disastrous 2014 season. It was indeed a highly unexpected victory for the team, competing against a field that consisted of some of the strongest development squads from traditional cycling hotbeds like Netherlands and Italy. The fact that Tour de Bretagne regularly pits rookie riders against experienced elite pros just added to the significance of Galeyev’s achievement. It may have been a special moment for the team, but in its previous two seasons in the UCI Continental division, Astana had already made a habit of pulling of stage victories on a regular basis.
Vuelta Independencia Nacional
This lesser known tour is organized by the Dominican Cycling Federation in the tiny Caribbean nation to celebrate their Independence Day. Held in the last week of February ever since 1979, the event has been a recurring part of UCI America Tour. The event holds special significance for Kazakh cycling, since it was won twice by ex Astana rider Maxim Iglinskiy in the early 2000s. Astana Continental scored one of their first stage victories in this event in 2012 with Ruslan Tleubayev taking the 2nd stage. Nurbolat Kulimbetov repeated that feat in 2014, continuing the strong performances of Kazakh rider in the Caribbean.
Coppa della Pace
Italy is a traditional stronghold of cycling with a lot of best riders and cycling equipment manufacturers based there. The Coppa della Pace is one of the numerous one day races held in the country under the auspices of the UCI Europe Tour. Established in 1971, this event got its first Kazakh winner in 2012 when Ruslan Tleubayev rode to victory for Astana Continental. This was the team’s first ever outright victory in a UCI road race event.
Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta Mont Blanc
A 7 stage road race that takes place annually in the challenging Valle d’Aosta mountainous region in northern Italy, this Giro offered rich pickings for enterprising young riders of Astana Continental in 2012. In this 2.2 event of the UCI European Tour, Arman Kamyshev started things off with a victory in the Stage 1. Alexey Lutsenko continued the strong performance with a second position in the Stage 2, before winning Stage 5 outright. Considering the fact that this was the team’s first year, this was no mean feat for the young riders in challenging mountain terrain.
Tour of Bulgaria
This venerable stage race has been around since 1924. Now a 2.2 event in the UCI European Tour, it has traditionally been dominated by eastern European riders, with the majority winners from Bulgaria. Maxat Ayazbaev became the second ever Kazakh rider to win this 1500km race ever, when he rode to overall victory in 2012. This was the first ever stage race overall victory for Astana Continental.
UCI U23 World Road Championships
Also in 2012, Kazakhstan got its first gold medal in this international time trial event held under the auspices of the UCI when Astana Continental rider Alexey Lutsenko rode to victory in Valkenburng, Netherlands.
Asian Cycling Championships
Another Astana rider grabbed the headlines for Kazakhstan in international competition in 2013. Daniil Fomykh was the rider, winning the team trial trophy in this UCI event held in New Delhi, India.
Tour of Qinghai
This is a relatively recent arrival on the UCI calendar, having had its first edition only in 2002. Named after the lake in Qinghai province in China, this race is held mostly within the Tibetan plateau region. A part of the UCI Asia Tour, this event has a 2.HC classification. Astana riders Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy and Daniil Fominykh had a good race in the 2013 edition, finishing 2nd and 3rd overall in the final standings. Nepomnyachshiy also had a stage victory to his name that year.
Trofeo Internazionale Bastianelli
Astana’s good performance in Italian one day races continued in 2013 as Maxat Ayazbaev claimed another good victory for the Kazakh side in this UCI 1.2 category race.
As evident from the above results, Vadim Galeyev’s Tour de Bretagne stage victory in 2014 was no fluke. Astana Continental riders had much success in various UCI Tour events across the world, from the Caribbean to Asia and Africa, with stage victories, one overall stage race win and a couple of one day race victories.