Astana Pro Team have announced its first signings for the 2017 season with Tinkoff trio Oscar Gatto, Jesper Hansen and Michael Valgren, and Cannondale-Drapac's Moreno Moser all confirmed to be joining the team.
"This year, we have signed four new riders. Oscar Gatto is an excellent classic rider and finisher. He is an experienced rider who will help and teach our Alexey Lutsenko. We have also strengthened the team for classics by Michael Valgren who also has big experience of riding in such races and had won at various times, said Astana general manager Alexander Vinokurov.
Gatto is the eldest of the quartet at 31-years-old and adds experience to the classics roster with his 2013 Dwars door Vlaanderen victory a career highlight. Gatto joined the Tinkoff team this season after a year in the Pro-Continental ranks with Androni. He was a teammate of Moser's in 2014 at Cannondale with the Italian duo to link up again from next season.
Valgren won his second Tour of Denmark last month and despite interest in joining Team Sky, the former Danish champion bolsters the team roster for the Ardennes and is likely to ride in support of Fabio Aru in the grand tours as will compatriot Hansen.
"We have also signed a young mountain rider Jesper Hansen who will help to our Aru in mountain stages of marathon cycling races. Moreno Moser is a good "motor", he has big potential and I'm sure that he will have progress in our team. We will make him a good cycling rider for such week-long stage races as Paris-Nice, as well as classics. As we remember, he was good on stages of Giro this year and he has potential for growth," added Vinokurov.
Astana are likely to see 2016 Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali move to the Bahrain Cycling Team at the end of the season while climbing domestique Diego Rosa has been linked with a move to Team Sky.
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