Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali set to join Astana Qazaqstan Team for two years
Astana Qazaqstan Team will welcome two more Italian riders in the upcoming season with Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali both signing a two-year agreement with the Kazakh WorldTour team (for 2022 and 2023).
Valerio Conti (28) turned pro in 2014 and during his eight seasons at the WorldTour level has scored some important results, showing himself as a strong climber and one-day racer. He won Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli in his first year as a pro, won a stage of the Tour of Japan in the following year, took a beautiful solo victory at a stage of La Vuelta in 2016, scored a solid second place in the General Classification of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in 2019 and took a win at Trofeo Matteotti in 2020. Back in 2019 Conti spent five days in the Pink Jersey as the race leader of the Giro d’Italia.
Two second places at Giro dell’Appennino and Gran Premio Citta di Lugano are his best results in the 2021 cycling season.
“I am happy to move to Astana Qazaqstan Team in the new season. It is a great team, and I am really looking forward to joining and to face the new challenges in the career. Astana is a strong and well-balanced international team, but of course, I am happy to see many Italian riders in the roster as it will be much easier for me to blend in quickly. The main goals for the next season are still to be discussed, but my personal wish is to try to win as much as possible”, – said Valerio Conti.
Antonio Nibali (29) is known as a strong helper for team leaders both at the Grand Tours and week-long stage races. At the same time, Antonio is very active in breakaways, always looking for a chance to fight for a stage win. In 2018, he won a stage at the Tour of Austria and took a good 8th place at Gran Premio Citta di Lugano, while this season he was 6th at a stage of the Tour of the Alps and finished 12th in the General Classification of the Tour of Sicily.
“I am looking forward to meet the team and to start the new season. I hope to spend some good years in Astana Qazaqstan Team, to help achieve the biggest goals of the team, to try to win something and to help the leaders in the best possible way. I am quite sure I will find a nice atmosphere in the team as I know a good part of the staff and, of course, some riders. The last two seasons were not that great due to the COVID-19 situation but I hope in the following year, step by step, everything will come back to 100% normal. I am ready for a new challenge in my career, it is an important change for me, and I hope to provide my new team with all the best I can do”, – said Antonio Nibali.
“Two strong riders are coming to our team. Both Valerio and Antonio are very experienced riders with many Grand Tour participations to their names, so they will bring some additional strength to our Grand Tour group. At the same time, these riders have good potential when it comes to winning races. Valerio Conti showed it many times in one-day races, while Antonio Nibali is known as a breakaway rider, so I am sure that they will get their chance to fight for a nice personal result”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
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