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Astana announces new sponsor for women’s team

Astana is investing in women's professional racing with an Italian-based team of about 15 young riders it hopes to develop

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Olympic time trial champion and former world time trial champion Zulfia Zabirova will join forces with Maurizio Fabretto to launch Astana’s new women’s cycling team in 2015. The team will field a roster of about 15 riders, mostly young athletes that it hopes to develop into seasoned pros.

The team will be officially named Astana-Acca Due O, and it will be registered in Kazakhstan. Many of the riders will come from Eastern Europe, but the team will also have strong Italian flavor. It will have a headquarters in Cornuda, Veneto, and sponsor Acca Due O is an Italian water treatment company.

“The project is very exciting,” said Zabirova, supervisor of the entire sport management, “And so is the challenge: [Our] long-term goal is to bring Astana to be the first team in the world within four years. During last edition of Asia championships and world championships we saw encouraging things by young Kazakhs. “We have very professional coaches and sport directors, and I’m sure that they’ll know how to let them show their full potential.”

The Astana BePink women’s team placed 10th at 2014 world team time trial championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

The team had a few notable victories in 2014, including Alena Amialiusik’s wins in the Belarus national road and time trial championships, Doris Schweizer’s stage 1 win at Tour de Bretagne Féminin, and Amialiusik’s stage 5 win at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche.