Cycling’s version of musical chairs is hitting a new fever pitch this week as yet another big name is set to change teams for 2011.
Roman Kreuziger, the talented 24-year-old who has twice finished in the top 10 at the Tour de France, has penned a two-year deal to join Astana.
The Czech rider will share leadership duties with Alexander Vinokourov, who has already confirmed he will race at least one more season with his nationally-backed Astana team.
“I am pleased that the team has reached an agreement with Roman Kreuziger,” Vinokourov said in a team release. ‘We are currently finalizing contracts to submit very soon a new roster for next season that will represent with power and pride the colors of Kazakhstan.”
Kreuziger turned pro with Liquigas in 2006 and has won some major titles in his young career, including the 2008 Tour de Suisse, the 2009 Tour de Romandie and the Giro di Sardinia ahead of Chris Horner (RadioShack) at the beginning of this season.
Kreuziger, the son of a professional cyclist, was linked to moves to Garmin-Transitions, but Astana is obviously looking to rebuild its roster following the controversial exit of reigning Tour de France star Alberto Contador.
Contador left for Saxo Bank, bringing three of his loyal side-kicks with him; Benjamin Noval, Jesus Hernández and Dani Navarro all signed deals with Saxo Bank last week.
The Schleck brothers, meanwhile, confirmed last week that their project to create a new Luxembourg-backed team is still on track.
Carlos Sastre, meanwhile, was the center of attention early Monday when he revealed that he is leaving a eight-year association with Cervélo bikes (two with the Cervélo team and six with CSC, which rode Cervélo bikes.
Cervélo officials were diplomatic about Sastre’s surprise departure from the team and say Sastre will still ride the Vuelta a España as planned later this month with Cervélo TestTeam.
“We would like to thank Carlos for his contribution to the Cervélo TestTeam in the past two years, and for a great collaboration during his eight years of riding a Cervélo. We have fond memories of this period, with of course his 2008 Tour de France victory as the absolute highlight,” said Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen in a team release. “We wish him the best for the future and are convinced he will ride a great Vuelta. Our team will support him in the best possible way.”