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Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto)
By Susan Westemeyer Yaroslav Popovych is the final addition to the 2009 Team Astana, the team...
By Susan Westemeyer
Yaroslav Popovych is the final addition to the 2009 Team Astana, the team announced Thursday afternoon. The Ukrainian signed a two-year contract with the team.
Team spokesman Philippe Maertens denied rumours that Popovych was joining the team at Lance Armstrong's request, telling Cyclingnews, "It was a super opportunity offered to us. Bruyneel did not have doubts about it."
"When I heard that Yaroslav was free, I was immediately interested," Astana manger Johan Bruyneel said. "He is another cyclist that has proven himself not only as a reliable teammate but also as a rider that can achieve his personal ambitions."
Popovych said that he was happy to return to Bruyneel, saying, "He is one of the few people I know that has successfully been able to manage both individual and team goals."
The 28-year-old turned pro with Landbouwkrediet in 2002, and rode for Discovery Channel from 2005 to 2007. This season he rode for Silence-Lotto. He won the best young rider's jersey at the Tour de France in 2005, won a stage in the Tour in 2006, and finished eighth overall in 2007. He also has two top ten finishes in the Giro d'Italia.
Team Astana for 2009 includes Lance Armstrong, Assan Bazayev, Jani Brajkovic, Alberto Contador, Valeriy Dmitriyev, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Jesús Hernández, Chris Horner, Maxim Iglinskiy, Roman Kireyev, Andreas Klöden, Berik Kupeshov, Levi Leipheimer, Steve Morabito, Dmitriy Muravyev, Daniel Navarro, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, Bolat Raimbekov, Gregory Rast, Sergey Renev, José Luis Rubiera, Michael Schär, Tomas Vaitkus, Andrey Zeits and Haimar Zubeldia.