Baku, November 14 AZERTAC
The Synergy Baku Cycling Project will start the 2016 season with a 14-rider squad which includes eight Azeri riders and a total of seven U-23 riders.
Azeris Kanan Gahramanli and Tarlan Mammadov, both 18, will join the team, and Aqshin Ismayilov is leaving. Ukrainian Alex Surutkovych has re-signed for an additional year.
Sprinter Maksym Averin will continue to lead the team, with an eye towards the second half of the season. The Azeri hopes to be selected for the Rio Olympics and the World Championships, and will also be aiming for a top finish at the new European Elite Championships, to be held mid-September.
"Maksym needs an easy build up after a highly stressful 14 months which we hope resulted in Olympic qualification," said sport director Jeremy Hunt. "He will ride long stage races to build him up slowly towards Azerbaijan's main goals."
Of the eight Azeris, only Averin and Asadov are over 23 years old. The remaining six are all eligible for U-23 races. Having just turned 21, Samir Jabrayilov already has three years experience with the team, having joined it as an 18-year-old in the team's debut year of 2013. He is also the only of the "youngsters" who can claim a professional win, as he won a stage at the Jelejah Malaysia in 2013. He and newcomer Josip Rumac will ride both Elite and U-23 races.
The two newest riders are both only 18, Kanan Gahramanli and Tarlan Mammadov. Gahramanli is the reigning junior national road race and junior time trial champion. Both he and Mammadov rode the Worlds and European road races in 2015.
Surutkovych, who won the mountain jersey at this year's Tour d'Azerbaidjan, will be back with the team for a third year.
The team's management remains unchanged, with Team Manager David McQuaid, Head Sport Director Jeremy Hunt, Sport Director Tomaz Poljanec and Sport Director Andrej Hauptman.
Synergy Baku Cycling Project for 2016: Elgun Alizada, Elchin Asadov, Enver Asanov, Maksym Averin, Kanan Gahramanli, Ismail Iliasov, Samir Jabrayilov, Matija Kvasina, Tarlan Mammadov, Matej Mugerli, Kirill Pozdnyakov, Josip Rumac, Alex Surutkovych, and Ioannis Tamouridis.