Chinese investors interested in purchasing license of Astana Qazaqstan Team

After a tricky start to the year, the Astana Qazaqstan Team are reportedly set to be bought out of their license by some Chinese investors, with the intention of doubling the team's budget in the process. Could it be the end to Astana in the peloton?

Having been in the professional peloton since all the way back in 2006, Alexander Vinokourov's team heading for relegation from the UCI World Tour at the end of next year if things stay as they are, the unknown Chinese businessman will reportedly be looking for a five-year deal, which as mentioned will double the current budget. This news comes from the respected French outlet, L'Equipe.

The Astana Qazaqstan Team have so far built up six wins in 2024. Two apiece for the team's star riders, Alexey Lutsenko and Mark Cavendish, with Max Kanter and Harold Tejada both adding a victory. At the upcoming Tour de France, a race the Astana Qazaqstan Team have won overall on two occasions through Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali, Cavendish is likely to be the figurehead once again as he searches for what would be a record-breaking 35th Tour de France stage win.

As mentioned, Astana do have Grand Tour winning pedigree, winning eight three-week stage races during their long spell in the professional peloton. In recent years however, the budget has been getting spread thinner and as such, results have waned. Reportedly there have even been numerous occasions where staff have been made to wait for their wage due to the precarious financial situation. Could the Chinese investment provide a life line? Only time will tell but with 18 of their 29 riders out of contract at the end of the year, it's likely there will be a big overhaul of the squad regardless of what happens with the Chinese interest.

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