Vinokourov brings 'young and ambitious' Kudus to Astana

Merhawi Kudus has signed a contract with Astana Pro Team for 2019. The Eritrean rider joins from Dimension Data, where he has spent the last five seasons.

"I am so excited with my arrival to Astana Pro Team in the season of 2019," Kudus said in a press release issued by his new team.

"This is a big opportunity for me, because Astana is one of the biggest cycling teams in the world. I hope to have a chance to improve a lot and in the same time to learn a lot and my expectations from this move are really high. I am looking forward to the upcoming season and am really happy to join this great project."

Kudus won the Eritrean national road title earlier in the season and has been a consistent performer for Dimension Data during what has been a difficult season for the team. He was ninth overall in the Tour of Oman and seventh in the Vuelta a Burgos in August. He finished 31st overall at the Vuelta a Espana, and Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov believes that the 24-year-old has more untapped potential.

"Kudus is a very young and ambitious rider and I am curious how far he can reach in professional cycling. He is a climber, but in the same time has some skills in the time trial races. This rider will strengthen our Grand Tour group. In the same time, Merhawi still has to find his way in the peloton and I think in Astana Team he will have a chance to grow and to show himself," Vinokurov said.

The Astana team have gone through a slight rebuild ahead of the 2019 campaign. Michael Valgren has moved the other way and joined Dimension Data in order to lead their Classics squad, while the Izagirre brothers join Astana from Bahrain-Merida in order to bolster their stage racing squad. The team currently have 24 riders signed for next season, a reduction of six riders based on this year's roster.


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