The Astana team has signed a one-year contract with Italian rider Michele Scarponi for the 2014 season. Astana Pro Team General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov said Scarponi comes aboard with leadership skills and a firm commitment for the general classification competition at the upcoming Giro d'Italia.
"Michele is a Giro leader, and he can be our captain for Astana Pro Team in May. 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," said Vinokurov.
Vinokurov said Scarponi will also find use for his veteran skills in Astana Pro Team's main 2014 objective - July's 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. 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," Vinokurov said.