Astana Pro are a professional cycling team, hailing from Kazakhstan. They will be participating in this year’s Tour de France, and as a UCI World Tour team they were afforded automatic entry along with 17 other teams.
Astana Pro have been competing in the Tour de France since 2007, yet they are considered to be one of the most controversial teams of the Tour.
Astana have a good Tour de France record overall, having won the race in 2009 and 2014 and racking up several stage wins since, yet a troubled history of doping allegations and financial problems plague the team.
All that considered, could 2018 bring a change of fortune for Astana Pro? In today’s guide we look at how the team are shaping up ahead of this year’s race, which riders will be competing for the team, and how this affects their odds and predictions.
Are Astana Pro Likely to Win the Tour de France 2018?
Whilst Astana Pro have a good record in the Tour de France, we think it’s unlikely they will emerge as the overall winners of this year’s race.
This is due to the fact that competition is stiff and team’s such as Team Sky and BMC Racing both boast much better chances of winning.
That being said, their current GC contender, Jakob Fuglsang has had a good 2018 season so far. Fuglsang finished second in the recent Tour de Suisse and also won a stage in the Tour de Romandie.
What’s more, Astana Pro have put together a strong team of riders to support for Fuglsang, and have talented sprinter, Magnus Cort, to tackle the flat stages.
Our Predictions for the Team
By announcing Jakob Fuglsang as Astana Pro’s GC contender for the Tour de France, the team are looking strong. That being said, as we mentioned earlier, we still don’t think he is a strong enough rider to compete with other GC contenders for an overall win.
With a strong team supporting Fugslang, however, we do think Astana Pro could achieve a high General Classification finish, and they have a good chance of racking up some stage wins.
Our Betting Tips
As we’ve just mentioned, we do not expect Astana Pro to win the Tour de France overall yet we would consider backing them to win some stages of the 2018 race.
We’d also consider backing Jakob Fuglsang for a Top 3 or Top 10 finish. Naturally, Fuglsang’s odds for a Top 3 finish are longer and therefore more lucrative, but he still isn’t favourite to place this high.
Instead, we’d settle for a bet on Fuglsang to finish within the top 10, and back him to win a mountain stage – which is the type of stage he usually performs best in.
Odds on each of the stages of the Tour de France aren’t currently being offered by all of the major UK bookies, but once the race gets underway more betting options will open up.
Keep your eye on the odds for Fugslang on any of the mountain stages, and consider backing Astana’s Magnus Cort for the sprint stages too.
Here are some of our favourite current odds on Astana Pro team riders for the Tour de France 2018:
- Jakob Fuglsang for a Top 3 Finish: 7/2
- Jakob Fuglsang for a Top 10 Finish: 2/5
- Jakob Fuglsang to Win Any Stage of the Tour de France: 3/1
- Magnus Cort to Win Any Stage of the Tour de France: 11/2
- Magnus Cort for Points Classification Winner: 100/1
Astana Pro Tour de France 2018 Team
As with all the teams competing in the Tour de France 2018, we will not know for certain which riders are competing for Team Sky until the week of the race itself.
However, Astana Pro have already announced their list preliminary list of riders for the tour, and we can expect this to remain unchanged.
- Mangus Cort
- Dmitiry Gruzdev
- Jakob Fuglsang
- Omar Fraile
- Jesper Hansen
- Tanel Kangert
- Luis Leon Sanchez
- Michael Valgren
Top 3 Most Popular Riders
It could be argued that, like many teams in this year’s Tour de France, Astana Pro have pinned their hopes on one rider. As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, Jakob Fuglsang is the team’s GC contender, with the rest of the team primarily present to support him.
That being said, in creating a team which can support Fuglsang, Astana Pro have called upon riders who are competent in the stages where Fuglsang is not.
These riders also have a good chance of claiming a stage victory, and so it’s important that you’re familiar with them if you’re considering backing Astana Pro this year.
Below we’ve highlighted three of Astana Pro’s best riders, and provided everything you need to know about their recent achievements and how they may perform in this year’s Tour.
We‘ve already talked a lot about Jakob Fuglsang in this guide, and we've already highlighted some of his achievements.
Fuglsang placed second in this year‘s Tour de Suisse, and he also took home the yellow winner‘s jersey in last year‘sCritérium du Dauphiné. This leaves him in a good forthe 2018 Tour de France and he expected to perform well in botht the mountain and cobbled stages.
Mangus Cort will make his Tour de France debut this summer, after riding twice for Astana Pro in the Vuelta a Espana. He is the team‘s best hopes at winning sprint stages, and for a Points Classification win.
His strengths lie in finishing strong, and he‘s already racked ptwo stage wins in 2018 already; one in the Tour de Yorkshire, and one in the Tour of Oman. He also bagged himself a Young Rider Classification win in the Dubai Tour and finished 2nd overall.
Whilst Michael Valgren‘s main job in the Tour de France 2018 will be to support Fuglsang, he is a competent rider himself and could be in with a chance of winning a stage or two.
Valgren has bagged himself two major wins in the past three years (a Young Rider Classification on the Dubai Tour in 2015, and an Overall Win in the Danmark Rundt race), and he has continued this success in 2018.
He was named overall winner in both the Amstel Gold Race and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad earlier this year, and so, he should be on good form in the Tour de France 2018 too.
Astana Pro Cycling Team General Information
Astana Pro is managed by Alexander Vinokourov, a former Russian Kazakstani professional road bike racer. As a competitor, Vinokourov achieved four stage wins in the Tour de France, as well as four in the Vuelta de Espana, and a Gold Medal in the 2012 Olympic Men’s Road Race.
Vinokourov has been the manager of Astana Pro since 2013, and therefore it was under his direction when Vincenzo Nibali won the race in 2014.
As we mentioned earlier, the Astana Pro team have had their fair share of controversies. In 2007, the team had their invitation to the Tour de France withdraw, after several of their riders were found to have positive doping results.
More recently, in 2015, the team battled for their UCI license and whilst they were allowed to keep it, the UCI warned that they would now be under close scrutiny at all times.
Astana Pro will ride in pale blue jerseys with a yellow trim in this year’s Tour de France. They have rode in these colours since their formation in 2006, and these are also the colours of the Kazakhstan flag.