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Klöden, eight others re-up with Astana

Andreas Klöden and eight other riders have re-signed with Astana for the coming year, the team announced Thursday morning. Andreas Klöden, Steve Morabito, Dmitriy Muravyev, Daniel Navarro, Gregory Rast and Michael Schär all have renewed their contracts with the Kazakh-sponsored team. It now has 18 riders for the coming season, including Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador and two-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer.

Klöden, who has twice finished second in the Tour, said, "I'm very happy to have the opportunity to continue my career with Team Astana and Johan [Bruyneel]. When I see the number of riders who have resigned for next year, it proves that we remain committed to this program, regardless of which races we are invited to participate in. We still have goals to achieve in 2008, but I'm already looking forward to next year."

The team manger said that he expected to add another seven riders for the coming season, and was pleased that so many current riders are returning. "Over the last couple months, I've received many phone calls from riders on other teams who wanted to race next year for Team Astana," he said. "Though flattering, it was my desire to first resign the key members who have contributed to the success of this new team."

2009 Team Astana Riders (as of July 31): Assan Bazayev, Jani Brajkovic, Alberto Contador, Chris Horner, Maxim Iglinskiy, Roman Kireyev, Andreas Klöden, Berik Kupeshov, Levi Leipheimer, Steve Morabito, Dmitriy Muravyev, Daniel Navarro, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, Gregory Rast, Michael Schär, Tomas Vaitkus and Andrey Zeits.