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Tanel Kangert (Astana)
Astana rider to help Nibali in July
Kangert was an instrumental part of Nibali’s Giro d’Italia victory in 2013 and finished 14th overall.
"At the moment I have the Tour in my programme and I really hope to do that. It wasn't my choice, it was the choice of the team but I’ll do other races with a different approach to racing and training," he told Cyclingnews during Astana’s recent training camp in Spain.
Kangert will start his season in Argentina next month at the Tour de San Luis, a race he has never taken part in. From there he will dovetail in and out with Nibali's race programme as the pair head towards the Tour in July.
"I'll start with the Tour de San Luis and the I'll race in Mallorca, Paris-Nice, Criterium International, Tour of the Basque Country and Tour de Romandie. It's a pretty charged and full programme."
Although the Tour will form a central part of his race programme, Kangert admitted that he would like to return to the Giro in the future.
"The Giro remains my favourite Grand Tour but I think it's time to do the Tour de France now. It's a good time to test myself in the best race in the world. I'll have the same role I had in the Giro this year and I'm happy with that. I wouldn't want more responsibility in my first Tour."
The 26-year-old Estonian turned pro on 2008 with AG2r-La Mondiale and joined Astana in 2011 after he spent a year at the elite-2 level. He recently extended his contract with three years. He has finished four Grand Tours but never ridden the Tour before.
"I don't think The Tour will be my favourite race. It's very hard to focus on the race and the result. There's a lot of good riders with good teams around them but obviously the goal for us is to perform well at the Tour."
"I would like to go to the Giro again, either as a leader or a co leader and get a good result."