Fuglsang opts to stay with Astana

Jakob Fuglsang has signed a new two-year contract with the Astana team, keen to continue as their Grand Tour leader despite considering his options elsewhere during the summer.

The Dane turned 34 in March and has enjoyed his best ever season, winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné and taking a sting of placings in tough Classics such as Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne.

Fuglsang's victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné and strong form made him a favourite for the Tour de France but he crashed hard on stage 1 and eventually crashed out of the race on stage 16 to Nimes, hurting his hand. That also hurt his contract options and meant he has still to truly confirm his Grand Tour credentials.

Fuglsang has not raced since the Tour de France but was named in Astana's line-up for the Vuelta a España. He will support Miguel Angel Lopez and target stages.

"I am happy to stay with the team as I feel here like at home. I've been with Astana for 7 years already and I am happy to continue. As everyone could see this year, I've really found my spot and I had a great support team around me, from riders to staff and sports directors," Fuglsang said when Astana confirmed his contract extension.

"This year is my best season ever so far and I am still motivated to show more. In the next days I am going to start La Vuelta where I'd like to go for the stages and to try to find the legs for the last part of the season. I am happy that everything worked out perfectly and we are going ahead together with the team for two more years. I hope to be able to deliver more big results for the team in the future."

Astana has seen it budget reduced in recent years and lowered its Grand Tour ambitions as a result. However the team has already won 31 races this season, with a wide number of riders. They have been especially strong in stage races; with Alexey Lutsenko winning the Arctic Race of Norway to give the team its 11th stage race win.

Astana will have Fuglsang and Lopez as Grand Tour team leaders in 2020, with Ion and Gorka Izagirre, Lutsenko and Omar Fraile also under contract. Dario Cataldo and Davide Vilella have moved to Movistar and Davide Ballerini to Deceuninck-QuickStep but the team has secured Davide Martinelli from the Belgian squad.

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