Astana confirmed on Friday the signing of Tour de France third-place Vincenzo Nibali and Alessandro Vanotti from Liquigas-Cannondale. The two riders have each signed a two-year contract with the Kazakh squad.
“The arrival of Vincenzo and Alessandro will strengthen our line-up for 2013 and 2014 considerably. We have worked hard to be in a position to sign these two great riders and now that the contract has been signed we are delighted to present them to the world,” said team captain Alexander Vinokourov. “This is an exciting time for Pro Team Astana. Building from our successes this year across a range of events including the Tour de France and the Olympics, we are working forward to ensure we are competitive for the 2013 and 2014 season and with the signing of Vincenzo and Alessandro to the team we certainly are on track to achieve our goals.”
Nibali, the top unsigned prospect in the 2012/2013 transfer market, was linked to Astana and BMC Racing. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported earlier this summer that the Sicilian had signed a $3.5 million contract with the former. Speaking to VeloNews, BMC brass denied they were in negotiations with Nibali in late May.
The winner of the 2010 Vuelta a España, Nibali moves to Astana after spending nearly his entire career at Liquigas. He should lead the team’s grand tour GC efforts, particularly after Roman Kreuziger came up short in the Giro d’Italia in May.
“Pro Team Astana being able to attract talent of the caliber of Vincenzo Nibali and Alessandro Vanotti shows a real statement of intent for 2013 and 2014,” said team manager Giuseppe Martinelli. “Their arrival next season will strengthen our team, their talents complement our current stable of riders and I am sure fans of cycling will be as excited as we are about them joining the team.”
The team did not release financial terms of either contract.