The 47-year-old, who had held the post since his retirement from racing at the end of 2012 – and who was instrumental in founding the team after the Liberty Seguros withdrawal in 2006 – was fired with immediate effect, according to French journal The team. Runners and team staff were notified via email Thursday at midnight.When contacted by Cyclismenews, the team confirmed that Vinokourov was ousted. His role within the team has reportedly been reduced of late, with new leadership – including that of co-sponsor Premier Tech – taking over from the non-sporting side of the team.
His dismissal would have been officially given for “personal reasons”, which Vinokourov refutes, according to The team. He has already taken legal action to be reinstated in his role as team leader.
For now, veteran sporting director Giuseppe Martinelli has been appointed as Vinokourov, assisted by Steve Bauer, who has joined the team with the introduction of Premier Tech.
The move comes after a period of internal conflict within the squad that saw the departures of longtime sporting directors Alexandr Shefer and Dimitri Sedun at the end of 2020.
In an interview with a Kazakh outlet Kzaif.kz in May, Sedun said Vinokourov was fired and reinstated last year after complaining about his and Shefer’s dismissal.
“He told the truth that the team were shocked that Shefer and I had been fired,” Sedun said. “He paid the price for it but the management quickly came to their senses and brought him back into the team.
“Vinokourov is a media personality. Can you imagine what a stir would be in the media if it was disclosed that the founder and ideological inspirer of Astana was ousted? Apparently, that’s why everything quickly changed. “
Sedun said problems within the squad started after Belgium’s Yana Seel was appointed general manager three years ago, with internal conflicts only increasing after the co-sponsor arrived. Canadian Premier Tech. The new leadership has dismissed the previously established leadership team, including Vinokourov, he said.
“The fact is that a new team of shareholders is now playing the leading role in the management of Astana. They are probably good professionals in their field, but in my opinion excellent business knowledge is clearly not enough for a successful performance in cycling. I don’t think we’ll ever see “old” Astana.
“In short, our views did not coincide with the ideas of the new shareholders. Earlier still, Vinokourov, [team performance manager] Dmitry Fofonov and I had been “sidelined” about negotiations and contracts. “