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Kazakh-flavored Astana team likely for Grand Tours

Alberto Contador and Alexander Vinokourov at the Astana training camp

Alberto Contador and Alexander Vinokourov at the Astana training camp (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The Astana team will likely have a strong Kazakh flavour for the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, where the team will aim to defend Alberto Contador's title.

The team indicated this on Saturday when Kazakh Federation Vice President Nikolaï Proskurine suggested to L'Equipe that four Kazakh riders will take part at the start of the Tour de France on July 3, 2010. Another six Kazakhs could take to the starting line in the Giro d'Italia, beginning earlier in the season on May 8.

Contador's Astana team will be presented in January in Vienna.

After several months of contract negotiations, Contador re-signed with Astana for the 2010 season. Throughout the summer he was heavily linked with several teams including Garmin, Quick Step and Caisse d'Epargne.

However with eight of Astana's 2009 Tour de France line-up leaving to ride for RadioShack in 2010, many have questioned the quality of the Contador's possible team in next year's Grand Tours.

Despite signing 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro in December, the team arguably lacks the strength in depth on offer at teams like RadioShack, Garmin-Transitions and Saxo Bank.

Astana's recuitments for 2010 also include Gorazd Stangelj, Paolo Tiralongo, Alexandre Vinokourov, David De la Fuente, Andriy Grivko, Mirko Selvaggi.