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The Giro champion will return to competition tomorrow and is joined by Westra, Bozic, Gavazzi, Iglinskiy, Huffman, Agnoli and Muravyev on the Astana roster

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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BORUT BOZIC

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DMITRIY MURAVYEV

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FRANCESCO GAVAZZI

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LIEUWE WESTRA

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MAXIM IGLINSKIY

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TOUR OF OMAN

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VALERIO AGNOLI

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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17.02.2014 @ 18:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Vincenzo Nibali will continue his racing campaign that is set to reach its climax in July at the Tour de France when he lines up for this week's Tour of Oman. The Giro champion will lead a strong Astana roster that includes riders like Lieuwe Westra, Borut Bozic, Francesco Gavazzi and Maxim Iglinskiy

 

For the third year in a row, Vincenzo Nibali will use the Tour of Oman as an important stepping stone for his later objectives when he lines up in the Middle East race tomorrow. After having done the Tour de San Luis and the Dubai Tour, the Omani race will be Nibali's third race appearance in 2014.

 

In 2012, Nibali finished 2nd in the event but in recent years the Italian has had slower starts to his seasons. This year he has admitted that his many non-cycling commitments have taken a lot of time and that he is a bit behind schedule at this early time of the season.

 

Hence, it was no surprise that he put in rather unspectacular performances in San Luis and Dubai and he was even hampered by a crash in the Argentinean race. He is unlikely to win the race in Oman but it will be important for the Giro champion to see some progress as he continues his build-up for the Tour de France.

 

He will be joined by TT specialist and new signing Lieuwe Westra who has had a similarly low-key start to his first season at Astana. Instead, the team will look to Francesco Gavazzi to produce some results in some of the harder stages, with the fast finisher having posted several top 10 results in the Tour Down Under and the Challenge Mallorca.

 

Borut Bozic may mix it up in some of the bunch sprints after getting safely through the Tour of Qatar while former Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Maxim Iglinskiy will continue his build-up in Oman. The team is completed by cobbled classics specialist Dmitriy Muravyev, Nibali's loyal domestique Valerio Agnoli and young TT specialist Evan Huffman.

 

The Tour of Oman starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday. You can read our preview of the race here.

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