Breaking News: Haimar Zubeldia Signs with Team Astana
Haimar Zubeldia Agirre, a three-time top ten Tour de France finisher, has signed a two-year agreement with Team Astana. Starting in January 2009, the Spanish pro cyclist will join Johan Bruyneel’s team, which already includes top Grand Tour riders Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden.
Zubeldia (Usurbil - April 4th, 1977), a professional since 1998, has spent his entire professional career racing for Euskaltel-Euskadi. In this time, the Basque rider has established himself as one of the most consistent riders in the Grand Tours and stage races. In addition to his three top ten placings in the Tour de France (5th in 2003 and 2007, 8th in 2006), Zubeldia finished tenth in the Vuelta a Espana (2000), second in the Dauphiné Libéré (2000) and won the Euskal Bizikleta (2000).
Zubeldia is the 100th rider to race for Bruyneel; a number that he is very proud of. “Haimar is a perfect addition for our team. He’s a good time-trialist, can climb very well and will be an excellent all-around teammate in the Grand Tours. A rider, like Haimar, who has finished in the top ten in numerous Grand Tours also has the ability to win some stages and races. He may be a veteran, but I think he has an exciting two years ahead of him with Team Astana.”
The transfer to Team Astana is a dream for Haimar Zubeldia. “The Astana Team is the best stage racing team in the world. I’ve always admired Johan Bruyneel’s teams and to race for him and the best riders is a special honor. I am thankful for the past eleven years, but I’m also excited for the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”
Bruyneel, who recently re-signed nine current Team Astana riders, is continuing to put together the roster for 2009.
Current members of the 2009 Team Astana squad: