Michele Gazzoli will return to the WorldTour with Astana Qazaqstan after being sacked by the team and given a a one-year suspension by the UCI for an anti-doping rule violation in 2022, signing on a two-year deal.
The 24-year-old Italian avoided a lengthier ban by arguing the banned stimulant found in his doping control sample taken on February 17, 2022, during the Volta ao Algarve came from an over-the-counter decongestant.
Gazzoli came back from his ban and technically was racing for the Astana development team when he won a stage of the Arctic Race of Norway on his second day back in the peloton. He went on to win a stage of the Tour of Bulgaria with the devo team and competed in the Tour of Slovakia, three of the late-season Italian one-day races and the Tour of Turkey with the WorldTour team.
“I am very happy to re-sign a contract with Astana Qazaqstan Team. This team gave me an opportunity to revive after a difficult period, and for me, this project is like a family that believed in me and did a lot to ensure that I was able to return to high results,” Gazzoli said in the team’s press release.
“In the next two years, I will try to do everything possible to repay the team with victories and podiums for believing in me and the chance I got. As a part of Astana and in the jersey of this team, I feel great motivation and desire to work for the sake of our success together.”
Manager Alexandr Vinokourov said Gazzoli deserves another chance and that he had proven himself in the last three months of the year, both with his results and his support of Alexey Lutsenko in Turkey.
“Michele has potential both in one–day races and in short stage races, he can also be an excellent assistant for the team leaders, both in sprints and on hilly stages,” Vinokourov said.
The team also announced they have extended the contract of Christian Scaroni.
Liepiņš and Julius van den Berg sign with Team dsm-firmenich
Team dsm-firmenich have added two riders for 2024, bringing lead-out man Emils Liepiņš in from Lidl-Trek and Julius van den Berg from EF Education-EasyPost to bolster support of sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.
Liepiņš, 31, is a two-time Latvian national champion who spent most of his career in Continental teams before getting a break in 2018, winning Heistse Pijl and the Baltic Chain Tour, earning him first a contract with the Wallonie-Bruxelles ProTeam in 2019 and then Trek-Segafredo, where he has been for the past four seasons.
Team dsm-firmenich coach Rudi Kemna feels…