Transfer news: Guardini set for another year with Astana

Guardini set for another year with Astana

Andrea Guardini is set for another year with Astana with the two parties seemingly having come to an agreement for a contract extension.

The Italian sprinter, who has seven victories to his name so far this year, took to Twitter to announce the deal, which will take him into a fourth season with the Kazakh team. The 26-year-old previously spent two seasons with Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli, where he turned pro in 2011.

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"Now it's official, happy to wear the sky blue jersey of @AstanaTeam again in 2016," read Guardini's tweet. A few hours earlier he had tweeted: "Another important decision taken, now finally back to peace and tranquility to better approach this last month of racing!"

Guardini’s biggest win came at the Giro d’Italia in 2012, where he outpaced Mark Cavendish, but he has been unable to repeat successes of that magnitude. Nevertheless, he has shown himself to be a prolific winner, with no fewer than 18 stage victories at the Tour de Langkawi. Four of those came this year, with his other wins this campaign coming at the Tour of Oman, the Tour de Picardie, and the World Ports Classic.

The one-year extension comes after similar deals for fellow Italians at Astana, Michele Scarponi, Davide Malacarne, Paolo Tiralongo, Diego Rosa, and Dario Cataldo.

Caja Rural's 2016 roster takes shape with signings and extensions

The Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team’s line-up for 2016 continues to take shape, with two new signings and contract extensions for two riders.

The Spanish Pro Continental outfit has enjoyed a brilliant season and two men who have contributed to that success, Lluis Mas and Jose Gonçalves, have extended with the team.

Spaniard Mas took a notable victory on the final stage of the Tour of Turkey, where he upset Mark Cavendish with a late attack, while Gonçalves took a win at the Volta a Portugal and recorded four top-fives at the recent Vuelta a España.

"Lluis Mas has made a step forward and has really settled into the professional ranks. He has shown that he’s capable of rubbing shoulders with the best in the world. We trust that he will continue to improve and progress," said team director Josemi Fernández, according to Biciciclismo.

"We knew about Gonçalves’ potential, but he has had a top end to the season. We hope that he continues to grow and improve with us."

In addition to those two extensions, the team has Gonçalves’s twin brother Domingo to its ranks, along with 24-year-old Spaniard Diego Rubio, both joining from the Continental Efapel team.

The four deals take Caja Rural’s confirmed roster for 2016 to 10 riders, with Pello Bilbao, Carlos Barbero, Hugh Carthy, Miguel Ángel Benito and Héctor Sáez all still under contract, and Alberto Gallego joining from Radio Popular. Amets Txurruka is the only rider to have left the team, joining WorldTour outfit Orica-GreenEdge for 2016.

Campenaerts moves to WorldTour level with LottoNL-Jumbo

Victor Campenaerts, the promising Belgian talent, will move up to WorldTour level next year after signing a deal with LottoNL-Jumbo.

The 23-year-old has ridden for Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise for the past two years – his first seasons as a professional – and finished second overall at this year’s Tour de Wallonie.

A strong rouleur, Campenaerts is well suited to time trialling and was Belgian and European champion against the clock at Under-23 level in 2013.

"I knew, from just following the team, that they pay a lot of attention to the scientific side of cycling. A conversation with Mathieu Heijboer really opened my eyes. The scientific approach of Team LottoNL-Jumbo was an important factor in my decision. Of course, the emphasis towards time trialling is a big plus for me, as well," said Campenaerts in a team statement.

"I’m looking forward to giving my all at the highest level of cycling and being surrounded by a strong team. I hope to take a step towards the top of time trialling. I also aim to keep making progress in climbing so that I will be able to compete with the best in the final kilometres of though Ardennes-like stages at WorldTour level."

LottoNL-Jumbo directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven echoed the sentiments of his new recruit and underlined the team’s commitment to Campenaert’s development.

"Victor is a strong time trialist and in recent years, he has bagged some good results. In the U23 ranks, he became TT champion of Europe and this year, he was strong in stage races like the Ster ZLM Toer and the Tour de Wallonie," said Verhoeven.

"His climbing has significantly improved, too. We think we can develop Victor into a top time trialist. As a team, we’ll put in time and energy into getting him there."

Bille signs for Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Former Lotto Belisol rider Gaëtan Bille will ride for Belgian Pro-Continental Wanty-Groupe Gobert team in 2016 having ridden at the third tier of the sport with Veranda’s Willems this season. 27-year-old Bille was recently fourth at the GP de Wallonie following on from seventh at the Druivenkoers - Overijse and sixth at Grote Prijs Jef Scherens - Rondom Leuven and the prologue of the Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta.

A strong performance in the Baloise Belgium Tour prologue also saw him record a good result with third place overall helping him to currently occupy eight place on the individual Europe Tour standings.

"Wanty-Groupe Gobert is a very nice team that is capable of offering me a super race program. There was interest from other teams but with Wanty-Groupe Gobert I can ride the Ardennes Classics and that has my interest. The faith the team puts in me to obtain good results also weighed in on my decision to choose this team," Bille said.

Bille added that he is looking for success at HC level races with Wanty next season.

"That third place in the Tour of Belgium was my best result of the year. This season was already a great year but I think a better race program would allow me to do even better and to continue getting good results in 2016. I would love to take on a semi-classic like Brabantse Pijl for example."

Sports director Jean-Marc Rossignon welcomed Bille to the team, explaining he sees the Belgian as a GC contender from next season in one week races while offering an option for the classics as well.

"Gaëtan will be an important rider for our team. He is a great time triallist and easily gets over the hills, though not the high mountains. He could develop into a crucial rider for our ambitions in the stage races that include a time trial. Plus, he knows how to ride on cobbles and knows how to ride at the front in a big peloton. He could play a role in the (semi)-classics in both Flanders and the Ardennes," Rossignon said of Bille, who follows the signing of Thomas Degand from IAM Cycling.

Bille rode the 2012 and 2013 seasons with Lotto Belisol, making his only grand tour appearance thus far at the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

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