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Astana

The capital of Kazakhstan gave its name to a leading cycling team straight after the withdrawal, in May 2006, of sponsor Liberty Seguros. The funding from various firms linked to the government of the former Soviet republic has since then ensured the continuation of an Astana team that has often changed management and experienced an eventful existence.

Excluded from Le Tour in 2007 after the positive test of its leader and founder Alexandre Vinokourov, the team then endured a probationary period before returning to racing. However, the 2009 Tour of the Kazakh squad was marked by a split into two clans: one supporting Alberto Contador, the eventual winner, and one backing Lance Armstrong, making his return to the Big Loop. In 2010, the triumph initially obtained by Contador was struck off by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on completion of long legal proceedings. In 2011, Astana’s emblematic rider, Alexandre Vinokourov, who was due to bid farewell to Le Tour, suffered a broken femur following a crash in the descent from the Pas de Peyrol.

As a result, the Kazakh champion carried on and prepared the future of a team which represents a country that is still, despite all the ups and downs, enthusiastic about the Tour de France. Janez Brajkovic, now riding alongside Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang, is the transitional leader awaiting the return to the Big Loop of the year’s other recruit, Vincenzo Nibali, 3rd on Le Tour in 2012 and brilliant winner of the Giro in 2013.

Overall victory: 1
- 2009: Alberto Contador

Stage victories: 4
- 2009: team time-trial in Montpellier, Alberto Contador at Verbier and Annecy (individual time-trial)
- 2010: Alexandre Vinokourov at Revel.

Victories in secondary classifications:
- 2009: team classification.

Yellow Jerseys: 13
- 2009: Alberto Contador, seven days
- 2010: Alberto Contador, six days

KEY FIGURES9th: the best placed Astana rider, Janez Brajkovic, in 2012.

KEY DATES
24th July 2007: the entire Astana team is excluded from the Tour de France following a positive doping test on its leader, Alexandre Vinokourov
7th July 2009: the stars of the time (Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Klöden, etc.) give Astana victory in the team time-trial, before the triumph in the individual event by Contador
10th July 2011: Alexandre Vinokourov, 11th in the general classification, falls badly and breaks his femur on the descent from the Pas de Peyrol