The Gazprom-RusVelo team has cut its roster for the 2018 season, placing an emphasis on youth as it moves from 23 riders down to 18.
The Russian Pro Continental team has made five signings this winter, all young Russians. Nikolay Cherkasov, Evgeny Kobernyak and Stepan Kurianov have come up from the team's development set-up, while Alexander Vlasov has been signed from the Italian U23 team, Viris Maserati, and Sergey Shilov from Lokosphinx.
That means 10 riders are on their way out, including Pavel Brutt, Alexey Tsatevich, and Anton Vorobyev, who all used to ride for the Katusha WorldTour team. Also leaving are Artem Ovechkin, Ivan Savitsky, Andrei Solomennikov, Kirill Sveshnikov, Sergey Nikolaev, Artur Ershov, and Aydar Zakarin (brother of) left Gazprom-Rusvelo last March.
"We announce the new team roster for 2018, which was reinforced with young talented athletes," said Renat Khamidulin, the general manager of Gazprom-RusVelo. "This is a new generation of riders, which has been grown in our system. Soon they will grow into strong and stable professionals, claiming victories for Gazprom-RusVelo and the Russian national team.
"Alexey Markov and Olivano Locatelli are our key Sport Directors. They are experienced professionals, who will be responsible for the training process and preparation of the newcomers. Moreover, in close cooperation with the Russian Cycling Federation we continue to work with the development team. Only by finding and developing young talents, we can think about the long-term success."
While the Shilov signed was announced a few months ago, Vlasov, who won the Piccolo Giro dell'Emilia this year, is the latest recruit to be announed.
"I am glad to start my professional career at Gazprom-RusVelo. This is definitely a big step up in my life, which requires hard and continuous work," he said. "Speaking about the team, the atmosphere is very friendly and I am sure I won't have any problems with adaptation because I am acquainted with most of the riders and employees of the squad. I am thankful to Gazprom – RusVelo for the faith they have placed in me and I will do everything possible to forge ahead and justify the given honor."
The Gazprom-RusVelo team is hoping to secure another invite to the Giro d'Italia in 2018, after making its debut with a stage win in 2016.
Gazprom-RusVelo for 2018: Ildar Arslanov, Igor Boev, Alexander Vlasov, Evgeny Kobernyak, Dmitry Kozonchuk, Stepan Kurianov, Sergey Lagutin, Roman Maikin, Artem Nych, Alexander Porsev, Ivan Rovny, Alexey Rybalkin, Nikolay Trusov, Sergey Firsanov, Alexander Foliforov, Nikolay Cherkasov, Evgeny Shalunov, Sergey Shilov.