Tinkoff-Saxo signs Trofimov for 2016

Russian champion to help Contador at the Tour de France

The Tinkoff-Saxo team has announced the signing of Russian road race champion Yuri Trofimov as it continues to build its squad for 2016.

Tinkoff-Saxo will have Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan as team leaders next season but is looking to bolster the number of Russian riders in the squad after becoming a Russian-registered squad in 2015. Trofimov is Tinkoff-Saxo’s first new signing for 2016 but the team is set to make more announcements in the days to come. British sprinter Adam Blythe and Italy's Filippo Pozzato have been linked with moves to Tinkoff-Saxo to help Sagan in the sprints and cobbled Classics. 

The 31-year-old Trofimov has been with the Katusha team since 2011 and was team leader in the Giro d'Italia, finishing tenth overall despite being ill during the final stages of the race. He then won the Russian road race title in June. In 2014 he won a stage at the Criterium du Dauphine.

"I leave one Russian team for another one and I will still have Russian riders by my side. For me that is an important aspect," Trofimov said in a statement from Tinkoff-Saxo after the team announced his arrival via social media.

"For me it was a hard decision since a new team brings new opportunities but also means a new challenge. I join the team which together with its leader Alberto Contador is going to fight for victory at the Tour de France. I am also going to have opportunities for myself to win race."

Russian team owner Oleg Tinkov said he was delighted to have the current Russian national champion in his squad for 2016.

"This is my sixth season as team owner and for the very first time I will have a Russian champion in the team. In addition, it is especially important that Yuri is very keen on riding for our team, in order to help our leader Alberto Contador but also aim at scoring his own victories."

Head directeur sportif Steven de Jongh predicted that Trofimov will give the team key support in the mountains, especially at the Tour de France, Contador big goal for what will almost certainly be his final season as a professional.

"After the Giro we saw the need for a very good climber that would support Alberto. Yuri has been a while with Katusha and was looking for new opportunities. We are excited to see him joining our team and we are sure he has all the skills to make him an excellent addition to our squad," he explained.

"Yuri's race program will be set up around Alberto's with the Tour de France being, obviously, the major focus of the season. However, he has proven to be a good leader, so he will be given that role within the team in some races."

For all the latest news on transfer, check out our special Cyclingnews guide to rider transfers by clicking here.

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