Vincenzo Nibali returns to Astana five years after leaving, the Kazakh team said Thursday.

Astana announced the 36-year-old’s arrival for the 2022 season with a series of cryptic posts on their social media channels before releasing a statement, but did not say how long the Italian has signed.

“I am very happy to return to Team Astana, because for me it is a real family that has given me a lot and together with which I have achieved my greatest successes,” Nibali said in the statement.

“I know most of the management and staff of the team, so I will return to the team I know very well.”

Nibali, who won all three grand tours including the 2014 Tour de France while in Astana, originally left the team after four years in 2016, having also won that season’s Giro d’Italia.

He joined Bahrain-Merida (now Bahrain Victorious) for the 2017 season and then signed with Trek-Segafredo for the 2020 season, however, he was never able to rediscover the form shown under Astana Team Principal Alexander Vinokourov .

“For us, the arrival of Nibali is an opportunity to obtain and use all the rich experience that a rider of his caliber can offer, to transform and improve the team, which will undergo some big changes in the new season,” said Vinokourov. , before adding that the Sicilian can expect to lead the team in several races.

Nibali’s arrival comes when both Merhawi Kudus (to EF Education-Nippo), Oscar Rodriguez (to Movistar) and Aleksandr Vlasov (to Bora-hansgrohe) will leave Astana at the end of the season.

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