Team Astana Adds Popovych to 2009 Roster
Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych completes the 2009 Team Astana roster. Popovych will support leaders Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador in Grand Tours.
Yaroslav Popovych, a top ten Tour de France and Giro d’Italia finisher, has signed a two year agreement with the Astana cycling team. Starting in January 2009, the Ukrainian cyclist will join Johan Bruyneel’s team, which already includes top Grand Tour leaders Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Alberto Contador and Andreas Klöden.
Popovych, born in Drogobych on January 4th, 1980 and professional cyclist since 2002, has spent his career racing for Landbouwkrediet (2002-2004), Discovery Channel (2005-2007) and most recently, Silence-Lotto (2008). During this time, the Ukrainian rider has established himself as one of the most consistent riders in the Grand Tours and other stage races. In his first year at Discovery Channel, Popovych secured the Tour de France’s Best Young Rider jersey, while successfully assisting Armstrong’s quest for a record-setting seventh Tour title. His Tour de France success continued with a stage win in 2006 and a personal best eighth place overall finish in 2007, while also helping teammate Alberto Contador secure the top honor that same year. Other notable results include two top ten overall finishes in the Giro d’Italia (3rd in 2003 and 5th in 2004) and a 1st place finish in the Tour of Catalunya (2005). Prior to turning professional, Popovych captured the U23 Paris-Roubaix title and the World Road Championship in 2001.
Team Astana General Manager Johan Bruyneel is quite pleased to have finalized the 2009 roster with another strong rider. “Over the past few months, we have worked hard to assemble a roster that will build upon the success of the 2008 season. When I heard that Yaroslav was free, I was immediately interested. He is another cyclist that has proven himself not only as a reliable teammate, but also as a rider that can achieve his personal ambitions. Though we will discuss his season’s race schedule next month at training camp, we will most likely count on him to support our leaders in the Giro and the Tour,” Bruyneel commented.
Popovych, who recently finished his season at the Six Days of Milan, is looking to 2009 with renewed passion. “It may have surprised people that I would go to a team that has a number of leaders, however Johan’s organization is the perfect fit for me. He is one of the few people I know that has successfully been able to manage both individual and team goals. There may be a couple more months till 2009, but I am already looking forward to putting on the Astana Team jersey and racing.”
The complete 2009 Team Astana squad includes:
Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Yaroslav Popovych, José Luis Rubiera, Chris Horner, Maxim Iglinskiy, Assan Bazayev, Jani Brajkovic, Valeriy Dmitriyev, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Jesús Hernández, Roman Kireyev, Berik Kupeshov, Steve Morabito, Dmitriy Muravyev, Daniel Navarro, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, Bolat Raimbekov, Gregory Rast, Sergey Renev, Michael Schär, Tomas Vaitkus, Andrey Zeits, Haimar Zubeldia.