(January 23, 2017) The Synergy Baku Cycling Project, having again received its UCI licence as a Continental ranked team, will focus on Azeri riders for the 2017 season. All seven Azeri riders from this year will remain with the team, with Kirill Pozdnyakov taking on Azeri citizenship, and Josip Rumac (Croatia) as the only “foreigner”.

The UCI told the team, “we are happy to confirm that the team is published on UCI website.” 2017 marks the team’s fifth year as a UCI registered team.

Pozdnyakov won the Tour of Szeklerland this year, taking the title along with two stages. He also won a stage in the Sibiu Cycling Tour and was third overall in the Tour of Slovakia. The new Azeri citizen’s strengths are time trialing and climbing.

“Becoming an Azeri citizen is a huge honor for me. I look forward to bringing in UCI points for the country and thus doing something for the people of Azerbaijan in thanks. The national team already has good riders and when I join them, we will have a strong team which will work together for success!” Pozdnyakov said.

In the sprints, the team will look to Maksym Averin, who competed for Azerbaijan in both the Olympics and the World Championships. He also won a stage of the Tour d’Azerbaidjan this year, as well as taking the national road championship title.

He will be joined by fellow veteran Elchin Asadov, and young riders Elgun Alizada, Enver Asanov, Kanan Gahramanli, Ismail Iliasov and Samir Jabrayilov. The only new rider to the team is 18-year-old Musa Mikayilzade.

Once again, the team’s highlight will be its homeland race, the Tour d’Azerbaidjan is again scheduled for May 3-7 in 2017.

“We appreciate the work done by our foreign riders in the past,” said Farhad Aliyev, General Secretary of the Azerbaijan Cycling Federation, “but now it is time to concentrate on our Azeri riders. The young riders are showing great promise, and with Kirill now an Azeri, he and our other veterans will lead us to success and the youngsters to a big future.”

“Cycling is booming in our country, not only with the Tour d’Azerbaidjan. We now have a women’s amateur team, and there is also a new factory developing and producing bikes. The Ministry and the Federation will be able to distribute bikes to schools and clubs. I think this initiative will open up great opportunities for the development of cycling in Azerbaijan.”

Synergy Baku Cycling Project for 2017: Elgun Alizada, Elchin Asadov, Enver Asanov, Maksym Averin, Kanan Gahramanli, Ismail Iliasov, Samir Jabrayilov, Musa Mikayilzade, Kirill Pozdnyakov and Josip Rumac.