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López to lead Astana at Tour, Fuglsang for Giro

Astana outlines its plans for training camps and season goals as team moves toward returning to racing.

Team Astana is scheduling training camps in Spain and Italy before clicking back into gear to race in 2020.

The team confirmed Friday that despite changes in the calendar its top GC riders will more or less retain their original goals, with Miguel Ángel López making his Tour de France debut in late August and Jakob Fuglsang leading team colors at the Giro d’Italia in October. Alexey Lutsenko will also target the Tour.

“I’m really motivated and excited about my debut at the Tour de France and I will try to prepare for it as well as possible. It will be a big step ahead in my career,” López said. “After a long time of waiting at home and training on the rollers, finally, we have the possibility to train normal outside, doing our job for 100 percent. I’m working hard now, trying to come back in good shape and I’m really looking forward to coming back to Europe and to see my teammates at the training camp before the start of the season.”

Officials confirmed that the team’s Colombian riders will return to Europe in July on a charter flight with some of their compatriots. The squad will split into two groups, with scheduled altitude training camps at Spain’s Sierra Nevada and another in Livigno, Italy. Astana confirmed its first races will be at the Vuelta a Burgos (July 28 to August 1) and Strade Bianche on August 1.

“I’m looking forward to the training camp in July, it’s going to be good to get together at the altitude camp,” Fuglsang said. “For sure, it will be a fast and furious one after so many months at home. We have to be ready to go full-gas right from the beginning. I am happy to get a leading role for the Giro d’Italia, it’s a big opportunity for me. It was my main goal, let’s say, in the original program, and I’m happy that it’s still like that.”

Team manager Alexander Vinokourov said grand tours will be the central focus of the revamped 2020 racing season, and expressed his confidence that cycling will see a resumption of racing as hoped for.

“Fortunately, everything slowly returns to normal,” Vinokourov said. “We understand that for some time we will all have to live with certain restrictions, but if the tendency continues like this, I am sure that the revised calendar that was planned by the UCI will be realized. We hope to have really good training in the middle and second part of July in order to have the best possible start in the first races.”