Battistella, Sobrero, De Bod head up six new Astana-Premier Tech signings

Astana-Premier Tech announced the signing of six new riders on Friday morning, including the addition of three men from the NTT team that will become Qhubeka Assos.

Italian youngsters Samuele Battistella and Matteo Sobrero head up the list, moving across from the South African team along with Stefan De Bod, while Ben Perry joins from the Israel Cycling Academy Continental team.

The team have also signed up two neo-professionals in the shape of time trial specialist Andrea Piccolo from Colpack and Spanish U23 road race champion Javier Romo from Baqué.

The moves bring Astana-Premier Tech's 2021 roster up to 23 riders, with a number of riders yet to confirm their future, including Gorka and Ion Izagirre, and Luis León Sánchez.

U23 world champion Battistella and compatriot Sobrero were already linked with the team and, along with South African De Bod, confirmed their moves on the same day their former team confirmed their ongoing presence in the pro peloton next season as Qhubeka Assos.

"I'm super happy to be in this team; since I started cycling, Astana was one of the top teams," said Battistella. "And now, being here for the next two years is something special and amazing. Many big riders have been in this team, so for sure the team has a lot of experience.

"I think I can learn a lot to become a better rider. Personally, I have no specific goals for the upcoming season. I just want to be in good shape and to give 110 per cent for the team at every race and enjoy being in such an amazing team."

Sobrero, 23, has signed for one season, while Battistella and the 24-year-old De Bod are on board for 2021 and 2022, with Sobrero saying: "It will be a great chance for growth and to become a better rider" and De Bod looking forward to "learning from the best".

At 26, Perry is the oldest of the six new faces and has three years of experience at ProTeam level with ICA before moving to their Continental team for 2020. The Canadian joins countrymen Hugo Houle and directeur sportif Steve Bauer at the squad, which added Canadian company Premier Tech as co-sponsor last week.

"I look forward to competing in the world's most illustrious races, in a team that has a strong history and culture," said Perry. "I want to make an impression on the team straight away and demonstrate my capabilities as a complete and consistent rider.

"A significant goal of mine is to prove my worth as a dependable rider in any race on the calendar. I want thank Astana-Premier Tech for this opportunity." 

He joins on a one-year deal while Piccolo signs up for two and Romo has penned a three-year contract with the Kazakhstani team. The six signings come a day after Astana-Premier Tech shored up their Kazakhstani core with eight moves – the renewals of Yevgeniy Gidich, Dmitry Gruzdev, Yuriy Natarov, Nikita Stalnov, Vadim Pronskiy and Artyom Zakharov and the additions of Yevgeniy Fedorov and Gleb Brussenskiy.

As well as the Izagirre brothers and Sánchez, Jonas Gregaard, Manuele Boaro, Hernando Bohórquez, Laurens De Vreese, Davide Martinelli, Rodrigo Contreras, and Daniil Fominykh are all out of contract for 2021, while GC rider Miguel Ángel López will move elsewhere.

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Daniel Ostanek
Senior news writer

Daniel Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, he had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also oversees The Leadout newsletter and How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal.