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Vaitkus returns to Astana for 2011

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Thomas Vaitkus (Radioshack)

Thomas Vaitkus (Radioshack) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tomas Vaitkus (AG2R-Prevoyance) was the stage 9 winner

Tomas Vaitkus (AG2R-Prevoyance) was the stage 9 winner (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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RadioShack's Lance Armstrong and Thomas Vaitkus during their impromptu attack

RadioShack's Lance Armstrong and Thomas Vaitkus during their impromptu attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tomas Vaitkus is returning to the Astana team in 2011, the Kazakh team announced Friday. The Lithuanian rider rode for the team in 2008 and 2009.

Vaitkus, 28, turned pro with Landbouwkrediet in 2003, and rode for Ag2r in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he rode for Discovery Channel before joining Astana for two years. In 2010 he was with Team RadioShack.

Vaitkus is expected to play a “major” role at the team, which called him “an excellent rider famous for the Classic races.” While he has not had any wins in the last two years, Vaitkus had three victories with Astana in 2008, including the Lithuanian national road title.

In 2007 he was sixth in the Tour of Flanders, and won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2006.

After losing Alberto Contador to Saxo Bank, the Astana team has made several changes to it's line-up for 2011. Key signing are Roman Kreuziger, Remy Di Gregorio, Simon Clarke, Mirco Lorenzetto, Francesco Masciarelli and Evgeni Petrov.