Astana-Saxo Bank

Interesting report in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that Astana and Saxo Bank are considering a fusion like Leopard and Shack are doing. They say discussions have been going on since the Alpe d'Huez stage in the Tour, and that Specialized, who supplies them both with bikes, is pushing them to fuse.

Jan 3, 2011
no tx. And dont think its a good match anyways. Riis and Vino sharing power? I dont see that happen.
Sep 25, 2009
can't wait for riis working for vino :D

the rumours were confirmed by astana moneyman mahmetov to way back.

he then hinted that they've been looking into other 'mergers' as well.

personally, i don't see any 'national project' pro team merging successfully with a commercial pro team.

the politics of such affairs require absorption rather than equal partnership...
May 6, 2009
just some guy said:
Astana Saxo Sungard - A$$ :D
I lol'd.

But I don't want this too happen, we have enough merged teams and there will be plenty of riders without a ride for next year, or riding for peanuts at Pro Conti and Conti level. Although good for Greenedge as it will make their quest to get the coveted WT licence.
Jan 3, 2011
@Python: agree, it wouldnt be a happy marriage. But tbh I dont think it will happen in the 1st place. The might be discussing it, but it wont fly.
Personally I wouldn't see why the Kazakh government which funds a large part of Astana would be interested in this. Momentarily they fund a team with about 15 Kazakh guys on it. If there's a merger, the number of Kazakhs would would be reduced to 6 or maybe 7 (Kash, Iglinskys, Bazayev, Zeits, Fofonov). Why they'd fund that team is a mystery to me. Vino was a big hero there, or so everyone says, but whether they'll want to bankroll Bertie once again.... Meh.

You saw that when Bruyneel ca. 08 had turned it from a Kazakh team into a multi-national superteam with 6 Kazakhs or so, the next year he had to hire a bunch of new Vino-disciples.
Oct 28, 2010
It would be bad for a "national project Astana" and good for a "UPT team Astana". They need points to stay in UPT, I guess this might be the most important point in this case...
Nov 23, 2009
I would like to say tyhtee things:

- Contador was desperate to leave Astana and to my understanding not much has changed about Astana since 2010. Does Contador ever know what he wants?

- If this occurs, Astana will have had Bruyneel, Vino, Riis, Martinelli, and Sanquer as DS'/bosses. It's like an all-star team!

- I wonder if we see some surprise "retirements" from riders like GOUROV Maxim, NEPOMNYACHSNIY Yevgeni and RENEV Sergey?
Thomsena said:
HL2037 said:
That is an example of Armstrong accusing Astana of not paying their bills. Not quite the same, since we know how Armstrong (does not) tell the truth...
Ryo Hazuki said:
again, where is the proof?
The riders rode without a main sponsor on their shirt for quite some time.

Contador without shirt sponsor.

PS Can anyone help me? I can't insert an image..
Mar 10, 2009
slim charles said:
In the end, all teams will merge into one.

I like both Astana and Saxo, but I wouldn't want them to merge.
The way most teams race these days its as if they are one team already.

Merge away, at least with more team in fighting we'll get more drama outside the clinic.
I really dont like this idea of superteams at all whether its Astana-Saxo or Shack-Leopard. We want to see more competitiveness not less and not have lots of guys looking for new jobs.

If sponsors are not able to fund full teams, questions really need to be asked of the ProTour structure. If sponsors cannot afford to run teams of between 25 and 30 riders with all the additional staff as required by the ProTour entry requirements, then this needs to be looked at more closely by the UCI.

Why not let teams have a minimum of say 18 riders and let them choose and pick what events they have to enter, maybe a minimum requirement of two GTs and say 10-15 World Tour events per year. Perhaps that would be more attractive to sponsors who cannot pay for big teams. Maybe reduce the number of ProTour teams to 10/12 as someone else suggested.

The idea behind the ProTour was to create an elite league with big sponsors staying in the sport but that doesnt seem to be happening with sponsors withdrawing and big teams looking to merge. Look at the longest surviving sponsors in cyling and they all seem to be lesser teams. Cofidis, Lfdjeux, Lotto, Euskaltel, AG2R all the lower end of ProTour or Pro Continental teams.

When I look back to when I first started following pro cycling over 20 years ago and see how many races have disappeared, it really makes me question how pro cycling is run.
Would make a fairly awesome Tour team if it came about..... kinda checkmates the RS/Leopard deal in terms of resource.

Wouldn't surprise me if true...... with the UCI giving green lights to Greenedge like teams before they're even created doesn't make a lot of room left for other teams. Consolidation appears to be word of the day.
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