Astana has finalised their 27-man team for the 2011 season with Roman Kreuziger and Alexander Vinokurov set to the lead the squad. Kreuziger signed from Liquigas this year and will help Vinokurov spearhead the team in the grand tours.
Other new signings include Rémy di Gregorio and Fredrik Kessiakoff – from FDJ and Garmin-Tranisitions, respectfully.
Kessiakoff is one rider who will be looking to get his career back on track after a difficult year affected by injury and a loss of form.
At the team’s first get together at the end of November in Montecatini Terme, Italy, the Swede will finalise his racing programme.
“I’ve discussed my race programme with the team and I was given a race programme that the team would be doing. We’re allowed to select the races we want to do but we’ll discuss that more at the camp,” Kessiakoff told Cyclingnews.
“I can’t confirm anything just yet but I’d like to do the same programme as 2010, stating off in Algarve, then Paris-Nice, the last two or three spring Classics and then the Giro.”
The biggest departure from the team this season was Alberto Contador, who left for Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank team. He is currently suspended from racing subject to a doping investigation after he tested postive for Clenbuterol at this year’s Tour de France.
Kessiakoff believes that the team has a different look about it now and that more riders will get their chance to shine.
“It’s a different team. Last year the team was built around Contador and now it’s a different environment. I’m happy and the guys I see on the team are good with a mix of nationalities and I enjoy that. There are some good personalities.”
“There are guys from countries that don’t have strong backgrounds in cycling and that looks good to me.”
Although Kessiakoff is unsure as to the exact details of the camp or his itinerary once he arrives, he knows that along with plotting his race programme he’ll have his hands full.
“I think it’s mainly about meeting everyone and putting faces to names. We’ll also test the bikes and the materials that we’ll use for the coming year. The really big camp is in January but this is a chance for us to kick things off.”