Rene Haselbacher is celebrating his 29th birthday today with a two-year contract with Team Astana. "After eight years with Gerolsteiner I had the feeling that I was in a rut. My position in the team was not what I hoped it would be. And the pressure from the young German riders has increased in the last few years. I want to say that I am parting on good terms with Hans-Michael Holczer. They were good years, but after all this time, it was time to make a change, in order to get new motivation."
"It is a great honour for me to be on the same team with Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden and Andrey Kashechkin. I am convinced that Astana will be the best Pro Tour team next year," he said. "The team's main goal for 2007 is clearly the Tour de France. My job will mainly be to at the front in the sprint stages and in the Classics. I don't yet know whether I will ride the Tour. But it is clear to me: Cycling consists of a lot more than just the Tour de France!"
Astana is expected to make a team presentation next month in Switzerland.