The Italian Classics specialist will spend next season with the Russian WorldTour team

Luca Paolini has agreed a deal to stay at Team Katusha for 2016, which will be his sixth season with the Russian outfit.

The 38-year-old Italian triumphed at Gent-Wevelgem this year ahead of Niki Terpstra and Geraint Thomas after attacking a small lead group.

He also supported Alexander Kristoff to victory in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and a second place finish at Milan – San Remo.

“I feel I can be useful for the team and our leader Alexander Kristoff,” said Paolini.

“I can get my own results, and I can help the young riders in the team with their professional development. This is the reason I immediately said ‘yes’ when team management proposed a new contract to me.”

Katusha’s general manager, Viacheslav Ekimov, paid tribute to the popular Italian.

“Many times Paolini became that decisive factor that tipped the scales in our favour,” he said.

“I am very happy that Luca stays with our team. I know he has not voiced his last word in cycling.”

After Monday’s fifteenth stage, Paolini was sitting 101st in this year’s Giro d’Italia.