Katusha have confirmed Rein Taaramäe will make his debut with the team at the Tour Down Under while Steve Morabito headlines FDJ's team next month at the Australian WorldTour race. Taaramäe joins the Russian team from Astana from 2016 and will be joined by Giro d'Italia stage winner Maxim Belkov who makes his return to Adelaide.
"Katusha always come to the Santos Tour Down Under with a strong team and I am sure like all teams they will want a good start to the 2016 season," said race director Mike Turtur.
"Belkov showed his strength when he attacked on the descent of stage nine of the 2013 Giro D'Italia and held on to take the stage win, so we are expecting this level of tenacity again. His fourth place finish on Stage 1 at the 2015 Santos Tour Down Under saw him put in a solid performance."
Taaramäe enjoyed his best season yet as a professional in 2015, taking overall wins at the Vuelta a Burgos and Arctic Race of Norway along with the one-day Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia race. A Vuelta a Espana stage winner, Taaramäe has ridden the Tour Down Under just once previously, finishing 95th in 2009 but will be aiming to start his Katusha career on a high with a better result.
Having finished 12th at the 2015 edition of the Tour Down Under, 30-year-old Tiago Machado returns to the race again in 2016 adding a back up option on GC for Katusha.
Morabito makes his fifth appearance at the Tour Down Under, and first with FDJ, providing an potential GC option for the team. The 32-year-old is joined by Johan Le Bon for his first Tour Down Under who enjoyed a maiden WorldTour win this season on stage 5 of the Eneco Tour.
Former Brazilian national champion Murilo Fischer and Vuelta stage winner Anthony Roux offer the team sprinting options while classics' rider Yoann Offredo, Laurent Pichon and Benoît Vaugrenard complete the roster.
Katusha for the 2016 Tour Down Under: Tiago Machado, Maxim Belkov, Vladimir Isaychev, Aleksei Tcatevich, Egor Silin, Sergey Lagutin and Rein Taaramae.
FDJ for the 2016 Tour Down Under: Steve Morabito, Johan Le Bon, Yoann Offredo, Murilo Fischer, Benoît Vaugrenard, Laurent Pichon and Anthony Roux.
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