Team Astana have unveiled their new line-up for 2012, headed up by former Vuelta a Espana champion Alexandre Vinokourov and 2010 Dauphine Libere winner Janez Brajkovic.
Vinokourov, who won the Spanish classic in 2006 and has also enjoyed victory in the Paris-Nice on two occasions and the Dauphine Libere as well as four Tour de France stage wins, will take the team leader role as Astana bid to make an impression in the major Tours this year.
Slovenian Brajkovic is expected to lead the Kazakhstan-based team’s Tour de France challenge while their line-up also includes rising Czech star Roman Kreuziger, who will have the opportunity to build on his efforts in last year’s Giro d’Italia, where he topped the young rider classification.
Team Manager Giuseppe Martinelli said: “The arrival of our new riders means we will line up at the start of every race with a competitive team. The general classifications of the major Tours will be the main goal for our leading riders, but the team is also aiming to give the world of cycling pause for thought in the Classics.
“Our experienced, charismatic leader Alexandr Vinokourov will set an example for the others – especially the younger riders – with his valuable advice, commitment to training and tactical intelligence.
“Roman Kreuziger’s season will once again focus on the Giro d’Italia. He finished sixth last year and won the Young Rider Classification. This year I expect him to improve yet again and would not be at all surprised if he played a starring role in the Giro and finished on the podium.”
Climbing specialists Fredrik Kessiakoff and Robert Kiserlovski also feature in a line-up containing 12 native Kazakh riders.