De La Fuente joins Astana

Spaniard David de la Fuente is the latest rider to confirm a transfer to Team Astana. The former Fuji-Servetto rider brings a prowess for attacking in the mountains, a talent which propelled him to the overall climber's classification in the Vuelta a España this year and a win in the GP Miguel Indurain.

De La Fuente has been a professional since 2003, when he joined Mauro Gianetti's Vini Caldirola squad. He remained with the team as it became Saunier Duval and then this year Fuji-Servetto.

During his time with Gianetti, De La Fuente claimed the overall most combative rider award in the 2006 Tour de France, twice led the mountains classification in the Tour and led the best young rider category in the Vuelta a España.

The Astana team lost a large number of riders and staff to Lance Armstrong's new RadioShack team, including most of its mountain domestiques. So far it has acquired only a few new riders, including Alexander Vinokourov, who came back from suspension this summer, and Paolo Tiralongo from Lampre.

Its ProTour status is pending UCI approval after the squad suffered financial difficulties this year and was slow in paying its riders.  While two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador has stated that he would not fight to get out of the squad, if the team loses ProTour status, he may be able to break his contract and look for another situation.

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