Luis León Sánchez to lead Astana at Tour Down Under

The Astana team for the 2015 Tour Down Under will feature several new recruits including a previous winner of the race in Luis León Sánchez. Of the seven riders selected for the first WorldTour race of 2015, five will make their debuts for the team in Australia.

Sanchez, who last rode the Tour Down Under in 2012 finishing in 26th place overall, also has two second places to him name alongside overall victory in 2005 and will lead the team at the race.

"Sanchez has a good history with our event," said race director Mike Turtur. "As well as taking the overall victory in 2005, he also claimed the Young Rider Classification that same year.

"It has been a few years since he has taken to the start line in Adelaide but his history here includes second overall in both 2006 and 2010, so we can't wait to see him compete."

After three years with Rabobank, Sanchez moved to Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for 2014 with the Vuelta a España mountain classification victory a season highlight for the 31-year-old.

"Sanchez is a four time Tour de France stage winner and a four-time Spanish Time Trial Champion," Turtur added. "He is an accomplished rider, making him a strong leader for the team and someone we hope will perform well."

Joining Sanchez in Adelaide for the six-stage race is former teammate and fellow new Astana signing Lars Boom who claimed a maiden Tour de France stage win this year.

Dario Cataldo, who spent the last two seasons with Sky, has also been named in the team. Former U23 Belgian road race champion Laurens de Vreese and Davide Malacarne will also make their debuts for the team in Australia.

Completing the line up at the race is Asian road race champion Ruslan Tleubayev and Lieuwe Westra who returns to the race for a second consecutive year.

Astana Pro Team for the Tour Down Under: Luis Leon Sanchez, Lars Boom, Dario Cataldo, Laurens de Vreese, Davide Malacarne, Ruslan Tleubayev and Lieuwe Westra.

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