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I’M NOT AN ASTANA FAN … YET January 28, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in team astana, team discovery.
Tags: , ,


I’m curious about the wholesale shift of fan allegiance from Team Discovery to Team Astana.

On the enduring Discovery forum, the talk is of our Astana, our team. I don’t think it is our team though.

Not yet.

Individuals at Astana have our respect, no question. But as a team, they have yet to earn our support.

I support Chechu, and will follow his new team with interest and some loyalty. But it’s not Discovery. That team, our team, wasn’t just about the bike.

New Astana has yet to find a unique voice in the world. At the moment, it feels like we’re chewing on leftovers. Familiar voices, familiar words. Good people, but the team simply can’t afford to be Discovery in a different kit.

Early days, but so far the team has adopted an American voice. I can understand it, it’s the easiest solution for now. When the pressure’s on, use people you know and trust. And not forgetting, there are also US sponsors to please.

But I’m keen to hear something different, and I think there are others too. The European press, for instance. They are surely ready to pounce.

The team which bears the name of the new Kazakh capital, and is funded by Kazakh tenge, is such a juicy prospect.

If new Team Astana can grab the energy and diversity of Kazakhstan, as well as it’s money, things might really get exciting.

Bring it on!

Nicky, Edinburgh


Photograph by Greg Johnson, cyclingnews.com



1. Charlotte - February 3, 2008


I never expected to be cheering for Astana – yet, I am and I’ve been to training camp, so I’m in all the way!

I was at a loss on August 10, 2007, when Tailwinds dropped their bomb about Team Discovery and thought “oh well” I guess I’ll just root for all the boys where they go (I’ve always had “other” favorites that I follow .. like Levi L., when he was on other teams besides Disco) …. then the unthinkable thing happened Johan came out of retirement and announced he was going to manage Team Astana. That in itself made me go to Astana – I have always admired JB both as a cyclist and a DS … I just held my breath AND when staff and boys started signing up for Astana, I accepted them as “my team” .. yes, they still have some proving to do.

Alos, in light of the recent Giro news that Astana and High Road are excluded from that race – I feel real bad for all of them .. I truly hope that Astana 2008 get a chance to prove themselves.


2. Cathy - February 4, 2008

I think once the season is in full flight and the “real” Astana site is up and running with a forum of its own Team Astana will make its own way. At camp it was definitely not an American team–the languages being spoken all around me rarely included English. While the content on the site will be from two Americans (myself and Cb) I think you will see a very European flair to all things Team Astana. We just bring the experience (with this management) to give the content a jump start in the right direction. This is to a great advantage when trying to create goodwill and develop a fan base as fast as possible. I even get paid in euros!

3. Anikó Szász - February 5, 2008

Well I was an Astana fan last year as well! I liked Vino, Klödi, Kash, Savo, Benoit and co. They did a great job,I loved to watch them racing. And when Vino won the Vuelta in 2006 I was more than happy! Of course the dope cases broke my heart and I thought it could have been the end of the team. But they didn’t give it up! They invited Johan for manager and he brought riders and staff from Disco with him and started to rebuild the team with months of hard work. And also he started a strict anti doping controll, which hopefuly will mean a clean team in 2008 and further in the future. Now I just can wish them a successfull season and I can offer all of my support!

4. Debbie - February 5, 2008

I know that Astana is not the new Disco or just the old Astana. It is a combining of some of the best of these two teams. I knew that I would somewhat follow Astana with I heard that Johan would be the manager. As more former Disco riders joined the team, I became more solid in my support. I didn’t automatically switch my allegiance to this team. I chose to follow this team because I believe in what they are trying to do. Even now, with their exclusion from the Giro, I believe in them and support them.

5. Martha - February 5, 2008

I was an Astana fan before this, I mainly followed Vino, Kloden and Savo, but my favorite team was Discovery. With Johan and a lot of that team coming to Astana, they may become my new favorite, but I can’t say just yet that they are. I have always followed favorite riders with various teams, most who had gone to other teams after being on Discovery, but some that came to my notice watching the European races. I’ll still do the same in the coming year, cheer for many different riders on many different teams (even more now with so many Discovery riders going to good teams). At this point I’m simply looking forward to seeing some GREAT CYCLING!

6. Vann Schaffner - February 5, 2008

I was first a Lance fan, led to USPS/Disco Fan, led to Johan fan, which is now the base of my fanship. I believe he is a cycling genious and has a system in place that leads to excellence. I love that he brought the core riders from Disco and the core staff. Good people plus good system.

Long answer to say, yes this Disco fan became an Astana fan, but it wasn’t a blind transfer of allegiance.

7. Vann Schaffner - February 5, 2008


I had also been interested in Astana from the beginning as I loved to watch Vino race. I was happy that a team was created around him. Oh well….

8. Dahveed - February 25, 2008

I think it is somewhat unwise to peg teams to certain countries. Most top tier cycling teams have riders and staff from all over the globe. So what makes a team American vs. French vs. Dutch vs. German? Is it the sponsor? Is it the team owner? Is it where the team offices are? Where the training camp is held?

A bigger question is “why is it important?” to identify teams with countries? The great thing about cycling, IMHO, is that an outstanding performance is great to watch regardless whose team or country the person is on. Clearly the Olympics are different here.

I wonder if we would get along better if we didn’t list all the nationalities of the riders and teams on every media report…

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