Astana confirm 30-rider roster for 2018

The Astana team has confirmed its line-up for the 2018 season, settling on a roster of 30 riders, with Miguel Angel Lopez and Jakob Fuglsang the leaders for the Grand Tours. 

Many teams have slimmed down their rosters for next year after reductions in team sizes for all major races were enshrined in the UCI regulations. However, Astana's rises from 29 riders to 30. 

Fabio Aru is the most high profile departure, leaving for UAE Team Emirates, while Matti Breschel leaves for Cannondale-Drapac. Former Kazakh national champion Arman Kamyshev has not been renewed and Paolo Tiralongo retired. The team lost Michele Scarponi in April when he was tragically killed in a training accident after returning home from the Tour of the Alps.

On their way into the team are six new recruits: Magnus Cort from Orica-Scott, Omar Fraile from Dimension Data, Jan Hirt from CCC Sprandi-Polkowice, Hugo Houle from AG2R La Mondiale, Davide Villella from Cannondale-Drapac, and Yevgeniy Gidich from the team's own development set-up.

Aru's departure is the most significant change for the team, who has now lost their two marquee Grand Tour riders in the space of two winters after Vincenzo Nibali moved to Bahrain-Merida this time last year. Aru won the Vuelta and twice finished on the podium of the Giro d'Italia during his six-year spell at the team and though his move to UAE had been rumoured for months, general manager Alexandre Vinokourov claimed to be shocked - and even threatened to seek damages - when it was announced last month. 

Jakob Fuglsang has stated his desire to lead Astana at the Tour de France next year, having won the Criterium du Dauphine this year, though in an interview with a Colombian newspaper, Vinokourov suggested that Lopez, who finished eighth at this year's Vuelta, is the team's head honcho. 

Astana Pro Team for 2018

Pello Bilbao (Spain), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kazakhstan), Dario Cataldo (Italy), Sergei Chernetckii (Russia), Magnus Cort (Denmark), Laurens De Vreese (Belgium), Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan), Omar Fraile (Spain), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Oscar Gatto (Italy), Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan), Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan), Jesper Hansen (Denmark), Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Hugo Houle (Canada), Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Truls Korsaeth (Norway), Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan), Miguel Ángel López (Colombia), Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan), Riccardo Minali (Italy), Moreno Moser (Italy), Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain), Nikita Stalnov (Kazakhstan), Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan), Michael Valgren (Denmark), Davide Villella (Italy), Artyom Zakharov (Kazakhstan) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan).

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