Menchov aiming to boost Russian sport as he confirms Katusha signing
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Menchov aiming to boost Russian sport as he confirms Katusha signing

by VeloNation Press at 8:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Triple Grand Tour winner moves on from Geox TMC

Confirming his signing for Katusha after many weeks of negotiations, double Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov has said that a major aim for him in 2012 is to help his country become one of the world’s top cycling nations.

The Grand Tour specialist negotiated with the Katusha team prior to the 2009 and 2011 seasons, but on both occasions a satisfactory agreement was not reached. It’s been a case of third time lucky for the talks; now he’s motivated to move to the squad.

“I am very glad to join Katusha. I have been looking forward to it for a long time, and I always regarded it as the right step for me and my career. I very much appreciate what Mr. [Igor] Makarov is doing for Russian cycling,” he said, referring to the President of the Russian Cycling federation. “In turn, I’d like to contribute as much as I can to the Russian Global Cycling project as well as to returning Russia its leading position in world sport.”

The Katusha team has never had a strong Grand Tour contender but, if Menchov can return to his top form, it can aim for big performances in the Tour de France and possibly another of cycling’s three week races. The 33 year old has finished third, fourth and fifth overall in the Tour de France, won the Vuelta a España in 2005 and 2007and took the Giro d’Italia in 2009. He’s also clocked up seven Grand Tour stage wins.

Marakov regards the signing as a very important move for the setup. “This agreement is a logical step in further realization of the Russian Global Cycling Project, which is aimed at uniting the most competitive Russian riders within one structure,” he said. “I consider it as one of the necessary conditions for successful development of Russian cycling and for enhancing its international prestige.

“I am sincerely glad that from 2012 Menchov will join Katusha team and the Russian Global Cycling Project. And I strongly believe that he will show some high results in the upcoming season.”

Menchov’s negotiations last year didn’t end well, but he’s now fully committed and ready to lead the squad. Today’s announcement completes his move from the Geox TMC team, which has crumbled apart under financial problems. He never really hit top form with the Spanish squad, having to be satisfied with eighth in the Giro and fifth in the Vuelta a España.

He also took third overall in the Vuelta a Murcia and fifth in the Tour of Austria.

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