Astana Pro Team have signed Óscar Rodríguez, who joins the team on a two-year contract. The announcement comes a day after it was confirmed that Rodríguez’s current squad Euskadi Basque Country-Murias would disband at the end of this season.
A strong climber, Rodríguez enjoyed a fine debut Vuelta a España in 2018, claiming a mountaintop stage victory at La Camperona. The Navarran placed second overall behind Iván Sosa at this year’s Vuelta a Burgos and took 8th in the inaugural Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge. The 24-year-old has been part of the Euskadi-Murias set-up since 2016.
"I am really happy to join Astana Pro Team for the following two years. I will do my best to become an important part of this team," Rodríguez said in a statement on Tuesday.
"For me it is a big step ahead in my career and I am ready to come into the WorldTour. I hope together with the team and my new teammates we will reach our goals."
On Monday, Euskadi-Murias issued a statement confirming that they would cease operations at the end of this season, with Paris-Tours expected to be the Basque outfit's final race. The squad moved up to Pro Continental level in 2018 and earned wildcard invitations to the Vuelta a España in each of the past two seasons.
Mikel Iturria emulated Rodríguez by winning a stage at this year's Vuelta, but although that triumph raised hopes that that the team could find a sponsor to replace construction company Murias, a new backer ultimately failed to materialise.
Rodríguez is the seventh new signing for 2020 to be announced by Astana thus far. The other confirmed arrivals are Davide Martinelli (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), Vadim Pronskiy (Vino-Astana Motors), Davide Martinelli (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Colombian neo-professional Harold Tejada, who was a stage winner at the recent Tour de l'Avenir.
"Oscar Rodriguez is a young rider, who could become a strong climber as he already showed his potential in some races during this season, for example, at Mont Ventoux or Vuelta a Burgos," said Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov.
"Also, he is good in time trial and maybe in our team he can even improve in this discipline. With other words, he looks like he can become a strong all-rounder and I am curious to see his progress in our team at the WorldTour level."
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