Zanini joins Astana as directeur sportif

The Astana Pro Team has announced the addition of Italian Stefano Zanini to its team of directeurs sportif for the 2013 season.

The 43-year-old Italian retired from his professional career in 2007, having racked up wins in Giro d'Italia and the prestigious Tour de France Champs-Élysées finale in 2000. He also excelled in the Classics: as part of the powerhouse Gewiss-Ballan team in 1995 and 1996 he finished on the Milano-Sanremo podium and won the Amstel Gold Race. He then spent six seasons with Mapei, with which he placed second in the Tour of Flanders in 1998 and won the Champs-Elysees stage of the 2000 Tour de France.

He retired in 2007, moving into a directeur sportif role with Silence-Lotto. He last held that position with Footon-Servetto and the now defunct Geox-TMC team.

Zanini will join fellow directeurs Alexandr Vinokurov and Giuseppe Martinelli, who will rely on the Italian's knowledge of the Classics to boost the team's springtime results.

"I am absolutely thrilled about the great opportunity that Pro Team Astana and Alexandr Vinokurov have offered me," Zanini said. "I will do everything I can to repay their faith and will give 100% to help the team conquer new heights."

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