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Kastusha signs three; Péraud to Ag2r

Katusha has signed three riders to round out its base while Ag2r has picked up former mountain bike pro Jean-Christophe Péraud in a two-year deal.

The Russian outfit has signed Spanish riders and solid climbers Dani Moreno and Alberto Losada along with classics strongman Leif Hoste, all to two-year deals. Moreno and Hoste will leave Omega-Lotto while Losada currently races for Caisse d’Epargne.

Moreno and Losada, both excellent climbers, will be able to help out new GC man Joaquím Rodríguez, while Hoste – always a solid performer in the northern classics and twice runner-up at the Tour of Flanders – will bolster the team’s profile in Flanders and Roubaix.

Péraud, meanwhile, will leave Omega-Lotto to join French team Ag2r, which is emerging as France’s deepest squad in the peloton.

The 33-year-old Péraud won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in mountain biking and has shown much progress since switching to the road scene.

Péraud enjoyed a solid 2009 campaign in his first full season on the road, riding to eighth at Paris-Nice, just missing the podium with fourth at the Vuelta al País Vasco behind winner Chris Horner, and to 39th at the Vuelta a España in his grand tour debut.

Ag2r officials says Péraud will be a team leaders in the smaller, one-week stage races such as Paris-Nice and ride as a lieutenant in the longer stage races. Péraud will likely make his Tour de France debut, where he will help team captain Nicholas Roche to try to improve on his 15th placing this year.

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