Kashechkin to sign contract ‘soon’ with Astana team
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Kashechkin to sign contract ‘soon’ with Astana team

by Shane Stokes at 9:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Released by Lampre, rider aiming for top five in Vuelta a España

Andrey KashechkinShortly after it was confirmed that a mutual agreement had been reached with Andrey Kashechkin for him to leave the Italian Lampre squad, it was announced that he looks highly likely to move back to the Astana team.

The latter has released a statement saying that both rider and management hope that an agreement can be reached, and that he can rejoin the squad with which he finished third overall in the 2006 Vuelta a España.

"We would be glad that Andrey Kashechkin sign a contract as soon as possible with the Astana team,” said its commercial director Dr. Aidar Makhmetov. “He would end the season free [without pay] with us and be engaged for 2012 and 2013."

Kashechkin wants to work out the fine print, but appears intent on making it happen. “It's a great day in my cycling career,” the 31 year old said. “I really want to return to the Astana team. I am Kazakh and this team is built to represent our nation, and I am proud of my country, that's why it's important to me.

“There are still points to discuss and I will sign a contract soon with the team. My first race should be the Vuelta Espana, where I target the top 5 in the overall standings.”

In addition to finishing on the podium in the 2006 Vuelta, the rider took a spate of other third places. He finished in that position in both the Deutschland Tour and the Clasica San Sebastian in 2006, and then the following year was on the same step of the podium in the Tour de Romandie and the Dauphine Libere.

His career took a dive though when he tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion in the 2007 Tour de France. Along with team leader Alexandre Vinokourov, he underwent a lengthy ban from the sport. Since returning, he hasn’t been at anything like the same form. He finished 17th overall in last year’s Vuelta; it remains to be seen if he can indeed challenge for a high finish this time round.

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