Nikita Stalnov, a Kazakh cyclist, currently riding for Astana Pro Team, thinks that the favorites who are going to contest for the winner jersey on the next day in the mountains will be determined after the first road stage of the “Tour of Almaty”. In an interview with Vesti.kz, he spoke about the difficulties and interesting moments of the upcoming routes and team’s tactics.
- Probably, I know every centimeter of this track. Because I organize the annual training camps here. I always come to Chimbulak and, of course, Medeu, Al-Farabi, I know the Eastern Bypass Road very well. And we hosted the championship of Kazakhstan in the industrial zone, so that's why I know this track very well.
- Everyone is talking about the complexity of the mountain stage, but could you explain the reason why it is so complex?
- First of all, it's complex because there is no road area and the track consists of ups and downs. And in the finals, the riders have to climb to Medeu after high-speed power work. It’s pretty interesting too. Plus hot weather conditions as a result of the date changing of the race. It gives some difficulties. Therefore, the second day will be quite interesting. But also I would not want to lose sight of the first day. Because the first day is a great opportunity to make a great race.
- Which stage do you prefer?
- At the present moment, I complete on a team as a universal cyclist. So, the previous two years, I participated in Vuelta a España and assisted the team captain and somewhere they gave me the opportunity to prove myself. I had tasks to work both on road, and on hill, and on mountain areas. And it's really working for me to assist and help the team. The mountain stage is so interesting for me. But I’m more excited about the second day.
- Your sports director Assan Bazayev says that Astana will not have a true captain. But anyway, how the roles will be handed out?
- We have not seen each other in such a Kazakh composition for a long time. Today we will meet, discuss and make a common decision because I think everyone can prove themselves on the first day. And on the second day, we will proceed from reality, who will be able to control the race. Anyway, I think the first day will show everything.
- If we talk about holding the Tour of Almaty as a three-day bicycle racing in the future. What do you think which stages could be best to organize?
- In my opinion, the third stage could also be done as the mountain stage but with different track. It will not be very easy to climb Big Almaty Lake but there are different heights. It would be so cool and interesting the third stage. But I am against the prologue. It will be more effective to watch the group race than spend the whole day on it, even if it is ten kilometers.
- Which plans do you have for the Tour of Almaty?
- I still have classic Italian road cycling until the end of the season. This is from September 14 to September 22 and the last race on October 6. After that, the season is finished for me. But speaking broadly I’m not self-satisfied because some things happened not as I planned. But next year is the Olympic year, I will prepare for it, work on my mistakes. The preparation was good; there were just some malfunctions, disease which was knocked out. The main goal now is to finish this season and continue to work.
It will be recalled that the Tour of Almaty will be held on August 30 and 31. During the first stage, participants will ride 118.6 kilometers on the territory of the Industrial Park. On the second day, the race will return to the track which has already become its visiting card - it will be a 160-kilometer stage with the finish at Medeu.