Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour De Luxembourg.

Vincenzo Nibali is headed back to Astana

After two years with Trek-Segafredo, Vincenzo Nibali has signed a deal to join Astana next season.

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After two seasons at Trek-Segafredo, Vincenzo Nibali is headed back to Astana, where he spent some of most successful seasons of his career between 2013 and 2016.

The team currently known as Astana-Premier Tech – though the latter sponsor is leaving at the end of the year – announced on Thursday that it had signed the 36-year-old Italian to a one-year contract.

“It is difficult to talk right now about any specific expectations for my return to the team, as well as about the plans for next season. But first of all, for me it will be an enjoyable reunion with the team, and I would like to enjoy the new season to the fullest,” Nibali said via an Astana press release. “Of course, I would like to prove myself, to achieve certain results, but at the same time I am interested in providing my experience to young riders.”

During his previous stint with Astana, Nibali stormed to the 2014 Tour de France title and two Giro d’Italia wins to go with his first Monument win at Il Lombardia and a sizable collection of other strong results. He left the squad for Bahrain-Merida in 2017, and then joined Trek-Segafredo in 2020.

“We are happy that this return is coming true. Vincenzo Nibali doesn’t need any introduction – he is a true champion and leader,” said team manager Alexandre Vinokourov, who has returned to Astana leadership following a suspension, a move that reportedly caused the rift with Premier Tech.

“Probably, he spent the best years of his career in our team, and I think it is symbolic that he will finish such a great cycling career in Team Astana,” Vinokourov said. “For us, the arrival of Nibali is an opportunity to get and to use all the rich experience a rider of his calibre can offer, to transform and improve the team, which will undergo some great changes in the new season. We would like to pay more attention to young riders and the presence of a champion like Nibali could play a very important role in their growth and development. However, I believe that Vincenzo has not said yet his last word in cycling, so in some races we can still rely on him as the leader of the team to achieve new successes together again.”

In what could be the final season of his illustrious career, Nibali may be linking up with Miguel Ángel López, who is reportedly also set to return to Astana after spending most of 2021 with Movistar.

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