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Luis Leon Sanchez to lead Astana at Tour Down Under

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Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana)

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Race leader Lars Boom (Astana)

Race leader Lars Boom (Astana)
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Lieuwe Westra (Astana)

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Laurens De Vreese (Astana) attacks the breakaway

Laurens De Vreese (Astana) attacks the breakaway (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Davide Malacarne (Astana)

Davide Malacarne (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Maxat Ayazbayev (Kazakhstan) solos to victory in the opening stage.

Maxat Ayazbayev (Kazakhstan) solos to victory in the opening stage. (Image credit: Giro Internazionale della Lunigiana)
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Arman Kamyshev wins stage three and Astana celebrates

Arman Kamyshev wins stage three and Astana celebrates (Image credit: Guoqiang Song)

Former Tour Down Under winner Luis Leon Sanchez has been confirmed as the leader for the Astana team at the 2016 edition of the Australian WorldTour race. The 2005 champion rode the 2015 edition of the race with Astana finishing in 13th place overall. 

"It is always a pleasure to return to Adelaide," Sanchez said. "I have raced here many times and have seen the Tour Down Under grow from year to year. I like the location and I like the people on the streets: friendly and smiling."

Joining Sanchez for the January race is Lars Boom for the second year in succession along with fellow Dutchman Lieuwe Westra. Davide Malacarne and Laurens De Vreese also return from the 2015 squad while 24-year-old Arman Kamyshev makes his debut at the race and as does 23-year-old Maxat Ayazbayev.

"Luis Leon Sanchez is a four time Tour de France stage winner and has taken overall honours at the San Sebastian Classic twice," race director Mike Turtur said. “He is a crowd favourite not to mention overall winner of the Paris-Nice in 2009 as well as having multiple stage wins at Paris-Nice throughout his career."

The 2016 Tour Down Under starts on January 19 with stage 1 taking the riders from Prospect to Lyndoch over 130.8km, concluding with a city circuit criterium on January 24. The Willunga Hill stage on January 23 is set to decide the overall classification.

Astana for the 2016 Tour Down Under: Lars Boom, Maxat Ayazbayev, Laurens De Vreese, Arman Kamyshev, Davide Malacarne, Luis Leon Sanchez and Lieuwe Westra.