Darkhan Kaletayev, President of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, noted the need to expand the Tour of Almaty in an interview with Vesti.kz. He thinks that the Almaty region administration should join in the multi-day race, emphasizing also the progress of Kazakhstan riders.
It will be recalled that the winner of the Tour of Almaty, which took place in two stages and ended today, on August 31, is the Kazakh cyclist of Astana team Yuriy Natarov.
- The Tour of Almaty has already proved itself. I think that it has already taken a worthy place in the calendar of world cycling ”- said Kaletayev. - But the race needs to be expanded. I would like the Almaty region administration to join the race. Having excellent natural resources, such as the Charyn Canyon, it must become an additional territory of the race. I hope that eventually, such a decision will be made.
I think that race has great potential to organize the finish line at Shymbulak. But it requires a level of teams that can drive to Shymbulak. I hope the race has a great future. I hope to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Almaty Tour as the president of the Cycling Federation.
- Almaty became a bicycle city in consequence of Bauyrzhan Baibek as Akim of Almaty city. Do you think anything could be changed now?
- I think nothing will change. It does not depend on akim, it depends on the culture. I think that the bicycle culture is at a high level in Almaty. And it could be changed. I think Bakhytzhan Abdirovich Sagintayev will bring even more opportunities to the city’s bicycle culture. He is very positive in this regard. I am grateful to Bauyrzhan Kydyrgaliuly Baibek, who did a lot for the development of cycling. I think all akims should follow the example of these people.
- Astana team participated in the Tour of Almaty with team lists including only Kazakh riders. Does it mean that a whole generation has grown?
- The new generation has grown, the number of Kazakh riders has increased. Not only in the Astana team, but in the whole country. Unfortunately, the federation has no relevance to the Astana team, it is part of the presidential club.
I am very much upset that Andrey Zeits will not take part in the team next season. He is a very important cyclist for the whole country because we are preparing for the Olympics in Tokyo. I think he is one of those riders who could seriously help us. But Andrey will not get lost in any other team.
In general, cycling is developing, cycling is moving forward. I am grateful to Alexandr Vinokurov, who is very actively involved in the development of cycling. I want to say massive thanks to Zulfiya Zabirova, who does a lot for the development of women's cycling. These people are the engines of cycling. We look forward to seeing good results in Tokyo.