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Scarponi to join Astana

Category: Cycling

Michele Scarponi has signed an one year contract with the Astana team.

Astana general manager Alexander Vinokurov confirmed that Scarponi has signed for the team and that the 34-year-old Italian will focus on the Giro d'Italia.

"Michele is a Giro leader, and he can be our Captain for Astana Pro Team in May," said Vinokurov. "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."

After the disqualification of Alberto Contador, Scarponi was named the winner of the 2011 Giro d'Italia. Scarponi is aiming for a podium at his home Grand Tour. He will then become a key lieutenant to Vincenzo Nibali in July when Nibali targets victory at the Tour de France.

"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," said Vinokurov. "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. We need strong riders and we will need just as much good luck as anything else."
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