In a move that makes me happy and nervous, Andreas Klöden has announced on his website that he will be signing on with the Kazach team in 2007.
“I did not want to leave T-Mobile, but the situation there is not clear right now. I’m looking forward to a new beginning and a big challenge at Astana, which has proved itself to be a very good team.”
The happiness is that this should continue to build Astana as a legitimate ProTour team as it looks to raise itself out of the Liberty Seguros ashes. The nervousness comes in knowing that the downfall of T-Mobile came when riders specifically Klöden, refused to work for the good of the team. Instead, he focused on his personal ambitions.
Walter Godefroot, who put the T-Mobile team together thus proving the “sum of the parts is less than the whole” theory, is responsible for advising Astana in this deal. He also brought along Mathais Kessler from T-Mobile. Godefroot says this will not be an issue.
“Klöden will surely not be captain at Astana in any case, because this role clearly belongs to Alexandre Vinokourov.”
Klöden, however was not as emphatic. In fact, his words sound eerily like his carefully parsed words when asked about supporting Jan Ullrich in previous tours.
“The main reason for my decision is especially the fact that I will go to a very strong team with riders like Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrei Kashechkin, with whom we will be able to accomplish much in the coming season.”
Does bringing both Klöden and a lieutenant in Kessler sow the seeds of discontent? Net result, I think Klöden’s negatives outweigh the positives. Bad deal.