Astana Pro Team have announced the signing of Norwegian rider Truls Korsaeth from Continental outfit Joker-Byggtorget. The 23-year-old is the 29th and final rider to be added to the Kazakhstani team’s roster for 2017, and his arrival comes more than two weeks after Astana’s pre-season presentation. Korsaeth has penned a two-year contract with the team.
“Although the team was already presented a few weeks ago, we decided to complete Astana roster with one more rider. We found a possibility to invite another rider and we chose Truls Korsaeth,” Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov said in a statement released on Thursday.
A strong time triallist, Korsaeth won the under-23 Chrono des Nations in 2015 and also placed third at the under-23 Tour of Flanders. The 2016 season saw him claim victory on the opening stage of the Tour de Gironde and he competed in the elite men’s road race at the World Championships in Doha, where he made the decisive split, eventually finishing in 16th place.
"At the World Championships he impressed with the way he helped Alexander Kristoff on the hard route in Doha. Korsaeth joined us in the final part of the training camp in Calpe, so we had a chance to see his potential once again," Vinokourov said. "On the continental level Truls showed some good results in time trials and one-day races, so I am sure, in Astana he will find all conditions for his further development. We hope he could strengthen our team in classic races."
The Joker-Byggtorget team, formerly Maxbo-Bianchi, has produced a number of WorldTour riders over the past decade, including Edvald Boasson Hagen, Alexander Kristoff and Lars-Petter Nordhaug, while Kristoffer Halvorsen, winner of the under-23 Worlds road race in Doha, is a current rider on the team and will remain at Continental level in 2017.
"This is a huge step ahead, so I'm really excited and grateful for the opportunity," Korsaeth said of his move to Astana. "I would also like to thank Team Joker – Byggtorget, where I've spent the last seasons, for allowing me to develop as a rider and giving me a chance to reach a professional level with Astana Team. Now, all my thoughts are about my first season in the WorldTour."
Movistar adds Nuno Bico
Movistar announced in a press release Wednesday the completion of their roster for 2017 with the signing of 22-year-old Nuno Bico. The Portuguese up-and-comer steps up to the WorldTour after four years riding at the Continental level, most recently at the Klein Constantia development team.
Bico was Portugal's under-23 national champion in 2015, and he notched a top 10 in the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège this April.
According to the release, Bico will be Movistar's final signing for the coming season, bringing the roster to a total of 28 riders.
Špela Kern signs with Bizkaia-Durango for 2017
26-year-old Slovenian Špela Kern will join Bizkaia-Durango for the coming season after three years with BTC-Ljubljana, her new team announced in a press release this week.
Kern put her all-rounder skillset to work mostly as a support rider this season, and Bizkaia-Durango expects to be able to rely on her in that capacity next year.
"I am happy and proud of my signing with the Bizkaia-Durango UCI Women’s Team. This is a major step in the right direction for me to become an even better cyclist. I’ll give my best to represent the team with all my energy," Špela said.
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