Italian Enrico Gasparotto will join team Astana after a forgettable year with the Lampre team. He received assurance from Alexander Vinokourov and new team director Giuseppe Martinelli that he will have chances to race for himself throughout 2010.
"I talked to Vinokourov. He will ride for Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne, but confirmed I will have chances in the other races. I want to have a chance to win stages at Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, De Panne and Tour of Flanders. Martinelli also confirmed my role," Gasparotto told Cyclingnews.
Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov helped create team Astana from the former Liberty Seguros team in 2006. He returned to racing in August after serving a two-year doping suspension.
Spaniard Alberto Contador won the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España last year, and the Tour de France this year for the Astana team. Johan Bruyneel leaves the team for Lance Armstrong's RadioShack, but Giuseppe Martinelli and Frenchman are coming in as replacement.
"I have trained with Vinokourov different times, I have known him a long time. Martinelli, who manages the riders now, tried to get me to go to Amica Chips, but I went to Lampre. Now I will join him at Astana."
Gasparotto believes the team will receive invitations to the races despite Vinokourov's past doping violation. "Astana is economically strong and in this period UCI needs economically strong teams," he said.
He leaves Italy's team Lampre after one year. He joined last year to help Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Ballan, and to have opportunities for himself.
"The team and I have two different ways to interpret cycling," he said. "There were situations throughout the year where we did not agree with how the races were managed.
"I knew I was in a team with winning riders, like Cunego and Ballan, but I was confident it would be like Saxo Bank, where all the strong riders have their chance to win. Instead, it is not like that in Lampre."
He had four wins in 2008 when he rode for Barloworld, this year he had zero. Part of the reason is he is participating in more important races and often at the services of teammates, like Cunego at the Ardennes Classics. Gasparotto helped Cunego finish in the top ten of the Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
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