2009 Giro d'Italia champion and two-time Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov has signed with Team Geox, the squad of Mauro Gianetti confirmed today.
The 32-year-old Russian has been with Rabobank since 2005, but will now join 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre on the Spanish team for the next two years.
"We're very happy to see Denis Menchov understood fast how deep the project we have in mind at Geox is," said General Manager Mauro Gianetti. "He'll be forming up a very competitive pair with Sastre for the big stage races, giving a higher point for the team when it comes to team strategy in 3-week races.
"Menchov is a regular rider who excels in the time trials, and his characteristics will perfectly complement with the pure climbing style by Carlos. The Geox team is getting formed right within our plans, and we will add some interesting riders by the end of the season."
Team Geox is in the process of being built out of the now-Footon-Servetto team after the Italian shoe manufacturer Geox signed on as the title sponsor of both a men's team and a women's team which will be based upon the Safi Pasta squad.
Footon-Servetto scored just six victories in the 2010 season, only one of which was at the ProTour level. Its ProTour license expires at the end of this season, and without bringing in the points which transfer with riders it faced a difficult task in getting invitations to the sport's top races. It currently sits 29th out of 30 teams on the UCI's world rankings with only Skil-Shimano ranked lower.
Sastre was announced as the first big transfer to the newly reinforced team, with several other top names like Damiano Cunego, Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner also rumoured to be in talks with Geox.