Landa signed to Astana as backing for Nibali and also as future race winner
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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Landa signed to Astana as backing for Nibali and also as future race winner

by Shane Stokes at 8:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Vinokourov: “With him on board next year we add a very talented young stage racer with definite, positive prospects”

Mikel LandaGiro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali will be joined by a strong new team-mate next season after his Astana Pro Team confirmed that the Spaniard Mikel Landa is coming on board.

The 23 year old has been part of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team for the past three seasons but with that squad ceasing to exist at the end of the year, he and the other riders are heading elsewhere. Landa has been recognised by Astana as a young rider with a lot of potential, and he has been brought on board on that basis.

In addition to backing Nibali, he will also be a rider who the team will develop and help towards his own success.

General manager Alexandre Vinokourov believes the acquisition is an important one for the Kazakhstani team, saying that Astana is “especially pleased” with the signing.

“With him on board next year we add a very talented young stage racer with definite, positive prospects for our own ambitions,” he said.

“Astana Pro Team is building its 2014 program with very specific goals, including the Tour de France with our team captain Vincenzo Nibali. With Landa on board we take a great step not only towards July of next year, but into the years ahead as well.”

Although he has signed an initial two year deal with the team, Vinokourov hints that Astana may see him as a longer term prospect.

“As Landa grows and develops, along with our other young and talented riders, we will see the next generation of Grand Tour contenders and champions take shape right before our eyes,” he said.

Two years ago, the Spanish rider underlined his promise when he won a stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. He followed that up with second in the 2012 GP Miguel Indurain and seventh in both the Vuelta a La Rioja and the Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid.

This season he was second in the latter event, and also took the runner-up slot in the Vuelta a Asturias.

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