After a health incident at the training camp in September 2018, the certain suspicions about Balhtiyar Kozhatayev’s state of heart health have appeared. Astana Pro Team immediately has iniciated and conducted a series of in-depth tests with the involvement of leading cardiologists.
According to the results of the tests and after consultations with specialists cardiologists in sports and taking into account the recommendations of the Association of sports doctors, the medical council of Astana Pro Team decided that the state of health of the athlete's heart does not allow him to perform in professional races at the level of the UCI WorldTour.
- The state of health of Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev in the last few months has raised some questions, so we decided to perform a number of tests in several cardiac centers in order to understand the situation as accurately as possible. Fortunately, no grave pathologies, that might threaten the life of the athlete, were found. However, some deviations have appeared and they are incompatible with the loads that exist in the WorldTour. Therefore, our council informed the team’s management about the current situation and recommended the rider to quit the active professional career, - said Serge Niamke, the chief doctor of Astana Pro Team.
- For all of us it is an absolutely unexpected situation. The decision we made was a tough one, but, first of all, it was done in favor of athlete’s health, which always was and still is our main priority. The health problems that Bakhtiyar suffered this autumn, led to a number of medical tests, which, in the end, became the basis for clear recommendations – it is impossible to perform at the level of the UCI WorldTour. It is very sad, as Kozhataev is a young and talented rider, however, we simply do not have the right to put in risk the health of the athlete. Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev's contract ends at the end of this year, and we made a decision not to extend it. In any case, the team will support Bakhtiyar as much as possible in this difficult moment. On behalf of the whole team I want to thank Bakhtiyar for all the years spent in Astana and wish him, first of all, health and good luck, - said the general manager of the team Alexandr Vinokurov.