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Astana-Qazaqstan bolsters Mark Cavendish sprint train with Cees Bol

The Dutchman will get his own opportunities as well as supporting Cavendish.

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Astana-Qazaqstan has added some firepower to Mark Cavendish’s sprint train for this season with the signing of Cees Bol.

Bol’s move to Astana, which follows the announcement of Cavendish on Tuesday, is not surprising with the Dutch rider being spotted at the team’s December training camp and more recently in Spain.

While Bol will be a key rider for Cavendish, the team hopes that he will be able to deliver some strong individual results as it looks to get the new relegation-promotion cycle off to a strong start.

“Cees Bol is a powerful sprinter, and first of all, we would like to see him next to Mark Cavendish helping him in the bunch sprint. However, we know that Cees is a strong rider, and he can deliver some good results by himself,” general manager Alexandr Vinokurov said. “So, it is another strengthening of our sprinter’s group, which takes a visible shape.

“With this signing, we are completing our transfer campaign and now all our thoughts are about the new season. We are at the start of our second training camp, two of our rosters are in Australia and Argentina already, so everything is ready for a good start of 2023.”

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Cavendish and Bol were both set to race for B&B Hotels this season until the team folded when it failed to bring in the sponsorship funds it needed. They are the final signings for the Kazakh team for 2023.

The team had previously been complete as it headed into its first pre-season training camp in December last year.

However, the sacking of Miguel Ángel López from the team in mid-December due to his potential links with an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking freed up a spot on the squad. On Tuesday, the team confirmed that Artyom Zakharov would drop down to the development team, which made another place available to sign Cees Bol.

“I feel really good coming to Astana Qazaqstan Team. Obviously, we are already at the beginning of the new year, and for me, it is a great surprise that finally it ends in such a good way. I am so happy that I am here in this great team, and I can focus on building up to the new goals together with Astana,” Bol said.

“My main goal for this season is to get back to winning, taking some sprint opportunities, and fighting for a win in any kind of races. But of course, with Mark Cavendish now in the team, another big goal for me will be to help him to fight for the success. I’d like to do some classics to see how far I can reach together with the team. So, I am really looking forward to 2023.”