Astana announces two year deal with Janez Brajkovic, sees him as Grand Tour contender
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Astana announces two year deal with Janez Brajkovic, sees him as Grand Tour contender

by Shane Stokes at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Slovenian rider should get more opportunities with Kazakh squad

Janez BrajkovicBoth Janez Brajkovic and the Astana team have confirmed earlier reports that the Slovenian rider is on his way back to the squad, with a two year deal being announced today.

The climber is moving from his current RadioShack team, ending a seven year working partnership with Johan Bruyneel. Brajkovic began that association in 2005 when the-then world under 23 champion turned pro with the Discovery Channel team. He moved with Bruyneel to Astana for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and then transferred to RadioShack.

In that time he has won the 2007 Tour de Georgia and the 2010 Critérium du Dauphine, beating Alberto Contador in the latter. He was also second in the Giro di Lombardia, third in the Deutschland Tour and took top-five finishes in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour de Suisse, the Volta a Catalunya, the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, the Giro di Sardegna and the Tour de Romandie. He was third in this year’s Tour of Utah.

These results have convinced Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli that he can be one of the team’s Grand Tour contenders during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

“He is a strong rider who will held an important place in the Pro Team Astana. With Roman Kreuziger they will form a key pair for the Grands Tours and will be leaders of the team,” he said. “They will also benefit from the experience and lessons of Alexandre Vinokourov.”

Vinokourov was expected to stop after his bad crash in the Tour de France, but has indicated that he will return for the Giro di Lombardia, and ride at least part of next season.

At this point in time he’s thought unlikely to ride the Tour. Brajkovic is likely to get team leadership in either the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France.

This morning Brajkovic confirmed the news of the move via a short message on Twitter. He thanked the RadioShack team for his time there. He had previously said that he didn’t believe his contract would be sold elsewhere by general manager Johan Bruyneel.

The Belgian, the team’s sponsors and several riders are heading across to the Leopard Trek setup for 2011.

The 27 year old Brajkovic should get more opportunities due to the move. RadioShack had numerous team captains, with the Slovenian rider sharing top billing with Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner heading into this year’s Tour. Three out of those four crashed out, with only Leipheimer making it to Paris.

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