Guardini and Fuglsang bolster strength of Astana team
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guardini and Fuglsang bolster strength of Astana team

by Shane Stokes at 1:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Top Italian sprinting talent joins Danish all rounder on roster

Andrea GuardiniConfirming the arrival of two riders who should considerably boost the team’s firepower next season, the Astana WorldTour team has announced that Jakob Fuglsang and Andrea Guardini will come on board from 2013.

Fuglsang’s signing was revealed earlier today by Ekstra Bladet, and the team has now confirmed he has been given a three year deal. Guardini, one of Italy’s best young sprinters, has a two year contract.

“With these two new signings, Pro Team Astana’s roster for next season is becoming clearer by the day, having already secured renewed contracts with Ardennes heroes Enrico Gasparotto and Maxim Iglinskiy, while also bringing in Nibali, Vanotti and Aru,” it stated.

Guardini had a highly successful first pro season last year, clocking up a superb eleven wins for the Farnese Vini team. He’s continues to progress this year, talking his first ever Grand Tour success on stage eighteen of his debut Giro d’Italia.

He beat Mark Cavendish to grab that victory and being similar in stature and sprinting style, some comparisons have already been made.

“We have taken on Guardini because we want to compete on all fronts, and he is without doubt the sprinter we were missing,” said Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli.

“He is young, but in two years as a professional with Farnese, he has already picked up 21 wins. I am sure he will rise to new and more important achievements from next year onwards. We have got excellent riders in our ranks – Guarnieri, Kangert and Grivko to name just a few – who will give him support and put him in a position to compete with the best sprinters in the world.”

Guardini has appeared to lack a strong leadout train on several occasions and so if this situation improves with Astana, he should be in a better position to win more. Being just 23, he will also gain strength in the years to come.

As for three time Tour of Denmark winner Fuglsang, he has the potential to be a Grand Tour contender in the future.

“Our agreement with Fuglsang is a cornerstone of Pro Team Astana’s strategy for 2013,” said Martinelli. “With him, Nibali and Brajkovič, we have got three excellent leaders for competing in next year’s three Grand Tours. He is still a young rider who can give his best in our team.”

What’s clear is that the squad has major ambitions and shouldn't be affected by the retirement of its current leader Alexandre Vinokourov.

“Pro Team Astana is building a fantastic team, and it will be up to the riders and all the staff to repay the faith that has been shown in us,” Martinelli said.


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