Road

Astana-Premier Tech renews slate of riders while Miguel Ángel López keeps options open

Key riders such as Luis León Sánchez, the Izagirre brothers and Manuele Boaro extend for one more season.

Astana-Premier Tech renewed contracts with a slate of its core riders while Colombia star Miguel Ángel López, off-contract at the end of 2020, continues to test the waters.

López has not finalized his future, and despite being linked to Movistar, team manager Eusebio Unzué said it’s a “50-50” chance the Spanish WorldTour team would sign him. An Italian website reported that Unzué said he would be interested in bringing on López, and the Spanish daily AS reported that the deal is done.

López, 26, finished third in the 2018 Giro d’Italia and third in the 2018 Vuelta a España, and won the Col de la Loze stage at the Tour de France in 2020 en route to sixth overall in his debut. The highly touted López turned pro with Astana in 2015, and has finished no worse than eighth in the six grand tours he’s completed.

Media reports in Spain suggest that Movistar is interested in López to help bolster its grand tour ambitions following the departure of such riders as Richard Carapaz, Nairo Quintana, and Mikel Landa at the end of the 2019 season.

Following a challenging season for Astana in terms of its finances, the team is bringing on its first major co-sponsor since its founding more than a decade with the Canadian company Premier Tech.

The team already confirmed the arrival of some new riders, and on Monday, announced renewals for some of its stalwart riders.

Among the riders to extend contracts include Manuele Boaro, Davide Martinelli, Jonas Gregaard Wilsly, Rodrigo Contreras as well as Gorka and Ion Izagirre and Spanish road champion Luis León Sánchez.

“It has been a difficult year for all of us, but I think we had still a good season with good results, I hope we will have a great 2021 season,” Boaro said. “After some rest, I am soon back preparing for the upcoming season with some personal goals, which I want to achieve together with the Kazakh-Canadian team.”