Katusha Team confirms its eleven new signings for 2012 season
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Katusha Team confirms its eleven new signings for 2012 season

by Shane Stokes at 12:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Strong additions to Russian squad

KatushaThe Katusha team has released the names of eleven new riders which it states will compete with the team in 2012, adding that this ‘practically closes’ its transfer campaign.

Some of the names have previously been announced, while others are being confirmed today. Amongst those previously known to be moving to the Russian squad is triple world champion Oscar Freire, who was confirmed earlier this month as moving across from the Rabobank team.

The Spaniard is the biggest new signing, and has a glittering career thus far. Apart from those three rainbow jerseys, he has also won four stages and the green jersey in the Tour de France, as well as seven stages in the Vuelta and three editions of Milan-Sanremo.

He will ride one more season, with the Olympic Games and world road race championships as his main targets.

The ten other names in today’s announcement are the Russians Maxim Belkov, Timofey Kritskiy and Alexey Tsatevich, Gatis Smukulis (Latvia), Xavier Florencio Cabre, Angel Vicioso Arcos (both Spain), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), Marco Haller (Austria), Rudiger Selig (Germany) and Simon Spilak (Slovenia).

Florencio (Geox TMC) is a former winner of the Clasica San Sebastian, while Vicioso won a stage in this year’s Giro for the Androni CIPI team, as well as taking the GP Industria & Artigianato and a team time trial stage win in the Coppi-Bartali race.

BMC Racing Team rider Kristoff is a very promising sprinter who won the Norwegian road race title this year, plus runner-up slots in the GP Fourmies and stage one of the Tour of Poland.

Smukulis took two of the HTC-Highroad team’s wins this year, netting the Latvian TT championships as well as a stage win in the Volta a Catalunya. Haller (Adria Mobil) was fifth in the Under 23 road race and took the Austrian individual pursuit title, while Leopard Trek stagiaire Selig was one place ahead of Haller in the worlds and also won the Binche – Tournai – Binche/Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke.

The contingent of new foreign riders is completed by 2010 Tour de Romandie winner Spilak (Lampre-ISD).

The three Russian additions look to be solid ones, with Belkov (Vacansoleil) being part of ISD’s team time trial-winning squad in 2010’s Coppi Bartali race and the Brixia Tour. Itera – Katusha rider Kritskiy won two stages of the Tour of Bulgarai and was part of the victorious squad in the Russian team time trial championships.

Finally, Itera-Katusha rider Tsatevich won the GP Nogent-sur-Oise and a stage of the Alsace Tour this year.

The squad is making other changes, with former Gerolsteiner chief Hans Michael Holczer replacing Andrei Tchmil as team manager. Katusha was confirmed yesterday as being one of those with sufficient points to be considered for a UCI ProTeam licence.

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