Michele Scarponi joins Astana for 2014 on a one-year contract
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Michele Scarponi joins Astana for 2014 on a one-year contract

by Ben Atkins at 6:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
2011 Giro d’Italia winner to lead Kazakh team in his home Grand Tour

michele scarponiMichele Scarponi has signed a one-year contract with the Astana Pro Team for 2014, the Kazakh squad has confirmed. The 34-year-old Italian has been with Lampre-Merida since 2011, but both parties agreed to end his contract on December 31st of this year after he was suspended for three months for working with banned doctor Michele Ferrari.

Scarponi won the Giro d’Italia in his first year with the blue-fuchsia squad - by default after the disqualification of Alberto Contador - and finished fourth in 2010, 2012 and 2013. With new teammate Vincenzo Nibali aiming for the Tour de France next year, Astana confirmed that the first Grand tour of the year would be Scarponi’s primary target.

"Michele is a Giro leader, and he can be our Captain for Astana Pro Team in May,” confirmed Astana’s general manager, Olympic champion Alexandr Vinokourov. “Our young Fabio Aru will ride with him, as will Alexey Lutsenko, and we see an environment where these very talented young riders will learn race leadership skills and strategies alongside Scarponi as he rides for a podium at the Giro d'Italia next year.”

Following the Giro, Scarponi will turn super-domestique for Nibali at the Tour de France, where his experience will be put to use in his compatriot’s service.

"Our main goal next year is to build up a team that can come together around the massively complicated and extraordinarily difficult task of riding for Vincenzo Nibali and his shot at a podium, and why not, a win, at the Tour de France,” Vinokourov explained. “Michele Scarponi has experience and strength that after the Giro we can go with him into the Alps and Pyrenees in July.

“It is worth an attempt, because the Tour is so important, and requires so much coordination and commitment,” Vinokourov added. We need strong riders and we will need just as much good luck as anything else.”

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