The Astana team held its official presentation in Brescia, Italy on Wednesday, introducing the line-ups for its WorldTour squad led by Vincenzo Nibali, the new Vino4Ever men's Continental team and the Italian-based women's Be Pink Astana team.
All three teams posed for their official photograph outside the stunning Villa Fenaroli before the event was broadcast live on Kazakhstan television.
During the presentation, Nibali confirmed he will target the Tour de France and begin his 2014 season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov ruled out that Nibali will also ride the Giro d'Italia.
"Our objective for this year is to win the Tour, so Vincenzo has to forget about the pink jersey," he told Tuttobiciweb.
"We want to win the yellow jersey, but we'll have a good team for the Giro d'Italia with Michele Scarponi and Fabio Aru, who can win the best young rider's white jersey and gain experience."
"Last year we worked together to win the Giro d'Italia, and it wasn't easy," Vinokourov said in a press release. "But the effort, motivation and drive that we demonstrated found its reward on the final podium right here in Brescia, and it's a great privilege to be able to stand here today and say we are ready to assume our next challenge at the 2014 Tour de France.
New signing Michele Scarponi will be the Astana leader for the Giro d'Italia and will also makes his debut in Argentina. Nibali will ride the Tour of Oman in February unless his wife gives birth to their baby daughter. He will be coached by Paolo Slongo who joins Astana from Cannondale.
"My big goal will be the Tour de France. I'm not afraid of anyone but I've learnt that you've got to take Grand Tours day by day and never underestimate your rivals. The Vuelta taught me that. The Tour is the hardest race in the world to get right, but we'll prepare for it and even go and study some key stages."
Also in the 2014 Astana line-up are former Amstel Gold winner Enrico Gasparotto, Jani Brajkovic, sprinter Andrea Guardini, Jakob Fuglsang, Frederik Kessiakoff and the USA's Evan Huffman. New signings for 2014 include Mikel Landa of Spain, Lieuwe Westra of the Netherlands and Valentin Iglinskiy of Kazakhstan.
The women's team includes Noemi Cantele and has Sigrid Corneo as directeur sportif.
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