Astana -Qazaqstan Team
First let’s get the elephant out of the room.
Alexandre Vinokourov are in the same danger that team Lotto-Soudal faced.
Relegation is not tackled in the last of the 3 seasons.
The UCI points needs to start being garnered from 2023 itself.
That being said let’s look back at the Velogames 2022 performers.SIMONE VELASCO:
Priced at 6 points, he had a more than decent return of 408 points.
Finishing 21st at strade bianche with some decent placing in San Sebastian, Quebec and the Italian Autumn race, Simonne Velasco’s age (26) suggest that he will see much more from him.
His stage performances and grand tour are nothing to shy away from.
Always in the top 10 of one of the one week races, he had a very impressive Tour de France. finishing 30rd Overall, and 3 top20 stage finishes.
He will surely get better.Verdict 2023: if he keeps his low cost tag, he is on to be considered as regular break away and stage finishes points. his performance will surely improves as his domestique duties are enlighten.
CHRISTIAN SCARONI: joined the team in July as a stagiare and what an impact he had.
Starting with the Bemer Classics right up until the Veneto classics.
Even though, he DNF the giro Di Lombardia, he did grabbed some points as breakaway.
No contract is confirmed yet for next for him.
Verdict 2023: Also freed from Shark duties, he will one among the many Italians talents, the Kazakh team will be looking to bring those UCI points.
UCI points does not mean VG points.
YEVGENIY GIDICH: if you need man for your break away he is pretty much your man.
He accumulated 300 points from breakaways only in the superclassico but putting 6 points on a potential breakaway is a not risk I would take,
VINCENZO NIBALI : the man, the legend , the shark is gone.
We were not expecting anything big from him given his form in the last 2 seasons at Trek-Segafredo.
His 4th place at the Giro 2022 was nothing more than surprising, although he did not make it in Jeremad Giro 2022 best possible team , he would have an amazing choices at just 10 points bringing in 981 points.
We grateful that we have not to have heard from him for on and off road issues but the guy is 28 now and surely he has learnt from his past mistakes.
It is time that he wakes up now live up to that great talent he shown.
Way too over-priced in the super classico and anonymous at the Tour de France he will be undergoing a price drop.
Verdict 2023: a short very short serie of finishing race in Italy in Autumn suggest there might still be hope but we will not be relying too much, considering whom we are talking of.
ARYTOM ZAKAROV: A firm 4 points breakaway who however only brought points once.
He hardly did any classics this year.
But boy, he did finish in the top 10 of the Tour de France for a second time.
758 points for 8 that was some return. Only Laporte, Powless and Meintjes were cheaper and brought more.
At 10 points in the Vuelta, he was a horribly wrong other affair.
Verdict 2023: he had a horrible injury at the beginning of 2022 but he did come back decently. I expect a very strong 2023 for him , starting with Strade Bianche, The man loves gravels and climbs
A young rider from whom a lot was expected.
He had a very impressive 2021 Autumn classics perfromance.
He did follow up at the start of this 2022 only to show the jersey more than to have final performances.
His 2022 Vuelta was not bad with 580+ points.
Verdict 2023: At 23, he still has time to improve and will get better with experience.
JOE DOWBROWSKI: I would not be forgiven for leaving him out but there are really no performance for him to show off in 2022.
MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ :
Last rider and we will get straight to the point. like every year, he started his season late and finished 3rd in Andalucia.
He then went completely under the radar in Tirreno Adriatico, abandoned a Giro where he was supposed to co-lead with Nibali.
And then he disappeared yet again. only to resurface on the wrong side of news, got suspended, got re instated and suddenly was the best version of himself we have ever seen.
3rd at burgos. 4th at the Vuelta where he cost 12 points and brought in 1357.
He then continued his excellent form in the classics, more particularly in the gravel
Verdict 2023: he is not far from a Grand tour podium finish again.
Attention need to be given in some classics with off road terrain.