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Report: Aleksandr Vlasov misses wind-tunnel testing in California after visa hassles

Rising Russian star misses out on USA trip ahead of high-profile transfer to Bora-Hansgrohe for 2022.

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Aleksandr Vlasov, the promising Russian who joins Bora-Hansgrohe for 2022, could not arrange a visa in time to attend wind-tunnel sessions in California.

According to an interview with BiciPro, Vlasov said he was supposed to join new teammate Giovanni Aleotti in a trip to Specialized’s wind tunnel, but was blocked by bureaucratic hurdles.

“I was supposed to go to do some wind-tunnel work with the others, but when I made a request for a visa, it was too late,” Vlasov told BiciPro. “In Russia, there are no American embassies open, so we are hoping to find a wind tunnel in Europe or alternatively a velodrome in which to carry out the necessary tests.”

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The hiccup comes as Vlasov joins Bora-Hansgrohe in a high-profile transfer to the German team, which is refitting its lineup following the exit of Peter Sagan and his entourage.

Vlasov turned pro in 2018, and raced the past two seasons with Astana, where he popped for some big results, including fourth in the 2021 Giro d’Italia. He said he already notices big differences in the move to the highly calibrated German team.

“From what I saw in October, they try to plan everything, from logistics to the needs of the riders,” he told the Italian website. “We have had individual interviews with the various specialists. For example, I talked to the physiotherapist, who gave me exercises to improve in the aspects in which I feel weaker. We have a group of nutritionists and luckily I know one because he too comes from Astana.”

The highly touted Vlasov is among 11 new riders for Bora-Hansgrohe in 2022. Others include Sergio Higuita, Jay Hindley, and Marc Haller, along with the return of Sam Bennett and Shane Archbold.

The shakeup comes as the team turns the page on the Sagan era, and rebuilds with a stronger focus on stage racing and sprints.

The team already met in Austria last month and will have its first major pre-season camp in December, when Vlasov said he will map out his racing calendar.

“I will focus on the GC in a grand tour, but I don’t know which one yet,” he said. “I chose Bora so I can be a leader, and after my good results, I think I can continue to progress and fight for the podium.”