Kirchen a Russian asset, says Tchmil

Kim Kirchen to help developing Russians and win at team Katusha

Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen will help developing Russian cyclists at team Katusha, said team manager Andrei Tchmil. Kirchen, winner of last year's Flèche Wallonne, joins Katusha after two years with team Columbia.

"We have a particular system, helping Russian cycling to grow," Tchmil told Cyclingnews. "The riders that we bring on are here to give results and also help our young Russians develop."

Katusha debuted this year, built from former team Tinkoff Credit Systems. More than half (15) of its 28 riders are Russian.

The team is part of the Russian Global Cycling Project foundation, which receives funds from sponsors Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii. The project's aim is to support the development of cycling in Russia.

Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez joins Kirchen for 2010 alongside the team's current Russians and Filippo Pozzato, Robbie McEwen and Brit Ben Swift.

"I think that that Kirchen has a good chance in our team to confirm what he has already shown," said Tchmil. "Kirchen will give a big hand to the team in short stage races and the classics in Belgium, the Ardennes."

Kirchen won a stage of the 2007 Tour de France and held the leader's yellow jersey for four days last year.

He won stage seven of the Tour de Suisse and the national time trial championships this year. He will lead his nation with Andy Schleck at the World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

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