Fraile signs two-year deal with Astana

Spaniard strengthens team's Grand Tour line-up

Omar Fraile will move to Astana at the end of the season after signing a two-year contract with the Kazakh team. Fraile has been riding for Dimension Data over the past two seasons and enjoyed his first Grand Tour victory with success on stage 11 of this year's Giro d'Italia.

The 27-year-old is the first new signing for Astana, after they extended with Jakob Fuglsang, Dario Cataldo, Laurens de Vreese, and Luis Leon Sanchez earlier in the season.

"Astana is one of the biggest and most famous teams in the peloton, and for me, it will be a great honour to become a part of this project for the next two years," Fraile said in a team press release.

"In previous seasons I've made a big step ahead in my development as a professional rider, and I hope, I will continue it in Astana Team. I really like the style of Astana Team and its great focus on the Grand Tours."

Fraile, who turned professional in 2013, made his breakthrough in 2015 by winning the mountains classification at the Vuelta a Espana. His performance attracted the interest of a number of teams with the Basque rider eventually opting to leave Caja Rural for Dimension Data. He backed up his mountains classification win with another the following season. He also took victory in the mountains classification at the Vuelta a Burgos in 2016 and finished second at this year's Tour de Yorkshire.

Fraile will bolster Astana's climbing line-up, which was visibly lacking during this year's Tour de France when Fabio Aru was left without teammates in the latter parts of most mountain stages. Whether he will work for Aru remains to be seen, with the Italian rumoured to be leaving the team at the end of the season. Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov said that the team had been looking at Fraile for some time and, as well as his climbing capabilities, they hope that he can boost their team time trial line-up too.

"Omar is a very strong climber, who can be a good strengthening for our team at the Grand Tours," said Vinokourov. "He can do well in any kind of climbs, but also he could be a strong part of the team in the team time trial races. We've been watching this athlete for a while, and this season he's impressed us at the Giro d'Italia. I am sure Fraile will be able to fully reach his potential in our team."

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