Ekimov denies that Kristoff and Paolini are to leave Katusha

Russian manager says both riders are under contract for 2015

Viacheslav Ekimov has flatly denied reports that team leaders Luca Paolini and Alexander Kristoff will leave the Katusha team in 2015.

Several Belgian media outlets reported that the two Classics riders were set to join the new Alonso team after refusing to extend their contracts. However Ekimov moved quickly to point out that both riders are under contract with Katusha for the 2015 season.

"In the press there was inadequate information about Luca Paolini and Alexander Kristoff. I would like to clarify the situation; both the aforementioned riders have signed contracts with the Katusha team until the end of 2015," Ekimov told the Russian news agency R-Sport.

"Furthermore Luca, and Alexander feel perfectly at home at Katusha and there's no talk about them possibly leaving the team."

Kristoff confirmed his talents as a sprinter and Classics rider by winning Milan-San Remo and finishing fifth at the Tour of Flanders. 37-year-old Paolini is a close friend of Alonso's team manager Paolo Bettini and was his road captain when Bettini was Italian national coach. Paolini won a stage in the 2013 Giro d'Italia and wore the race leader's pink jersey for several days.

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