April 28, 2004
Astarloa signs with Lampre
Reigning world champion Igor Astarloa, released last week from his contract with the embattled Cofidis team, signed Tuesday with Italy's Lampre team.
Lampre have so far notched just four victories this season, all in relatively minor races, and moved for Astarloa after team captain Francesco Casagrande was forced out of the Giro d’Italia by a persistent knee problem. Astarloa will make his Lampre début at the GP Larciano in Tuscany on May 1 before lining up at the Giro on May 8.
"After missing Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, I’m now forced to aim for wins in single World Cup races," Astarloa admitted. "As a Basque, San Sebastian in August now becomes a major objective. The Giro? I can only realistically hope for a stage win and to help my fellow Basque, Juan Manuel Garate, on general classification."
The Procycling story suggests Astarloa's former team, Cofidis, will try to dump one more rider, Mederic Clain, and resume racing at the Four Days of Dunkirk, running May 5-9.
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