Astana general manager Giuseppe Martinelli has confirmed that Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa will all ride the Vuelta a España later this month. Speaking at the Vuelta a Burgos, where Astana rider Miguel Angel Lopez leads the overall classification as the team lock out the podium positions, Martinelli named the team’s nine-man line-up to Spanish website Biciciclismo.
Astana have not officially announced their Vuelta a España team although Nibali tweeted earlier this month that he would join Landa and Aru at the Spanish Grand Tour. Nibali is a former winner of the Vuelta a España, taking his first Grand Tour victory at the 2010 event. He is one of many riders, including Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who takes part after completing the Tour de France. Nibali was unable to defend his 2014 Tour de France title but had a strong final week that saw him take a stage win and finish fourth overall. It will be the first time that Nibali rides the Tour and Vuelta in the same season.
It hasn’t been made clear if just one of them will be the team’s protected rider or if they will go in as joint leaders. Aru was the team leader at the Giro d’Italia although that came under threat from Landa, who put in a hugely impressive ride at the Italian race. At one point it was Landa that held the team’s top GC position but it was ultimately Aru who lead them home in second with Landa taking third, added to the team’s five stage victories. It is largely expected that Landa will join Team Sky next season, which could factor into the team’s decision.
Joining the trio will be Dario Cataldo, Diego Rosa, Luis León Sánchez, Paolo Tiralongo, Alessandro Vanotti and Andrey Zeits. It is a markedly similar squad to the one that competed at the Giro d’Italia earlier this season - with the inclusion of Nibali and Vanotti ahead of Davide Malacarne and Tanel Kangert. Despite his impressive performance at the Vuelta a Burgos, the 21-year-old Lopez did not make the line-up.
Cyclingnews has contacted Astana but the team have not made any further comment on the Vuelta team.
Astana for the Vuelta a España: Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, Mikel Landa, Dario Cataldo, Diego Rosa, Luis León Sánchez, Paolo Tiralongo, Alessandro Vanotti and Andrey Zeits