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Charismatic American veteran Chris Horner has signed with the new version of the Astana team, which will be run by former Discovery manager Johan Bruyneel.

A press release on Friday evening confirmed that Horner - 15th in this year?s Tour and a key support rider for Predictor-Lotto leader Cadel Evans - has joined the Kazakh squad.

13 years a pro, Horner is an expert climber and is expected to be an invaluable reinforcement for Alberto Contador?s assault on the 2008 Tour de France.

Two other riders, Jose Luis Rubiera and Vladimir Gusev, were also confirmed as Astana riders for 2008.

Spaniard Rubiera has ridden for Bruyneel?s US Postal and Discovery Channel teams since 2000, mainly as a Tour de France domestique, whilst Gusev, considered a Classics specialist, has been in Discovery since 2006.

Bruyneel was brought in by Astana as manager of a new-style squad following their disastrous Tour this year, during which former leader Alexandre Vinokourov - a pre-race favourite - tested positive.

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