August 26, 2006
Klöden signs with Astana
T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden has signed with Astana, where he'll rejoin former teammate Alexandre Vinokourov and former director Walter Godefroot. Astana has also signed T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler, who animated the Tour's first week with a swashbuckling but ultimately doomed late break on Stage 2, then followed it up immediately with a savage and successful attack over the Cauberg to take Stage 3.
Klöden, of course, was 2nd in the 2004 Tour and 3rd this year (with a chance to move up if Floyd Landis is stripped of his win).
Other additions for Astana are Gerolsteiner's Rene Haselbacher and Phonak's Gregory Rast.
“At Astana, Klöden will have no chance of being the team leader while Alexandre Vinokourov is there. He is the team leader.”
Klöden had named the 2007 Tour as a season goal for next year (hence Godefroot's surprise), but Vinokourov has also said that, at almost 33, he thinks 2006 was his last chance at a Tour victory.