Contador Agrees to Finish Contract with Astana
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has agreed to see out the final year of his Astana contract on condition that the team receives its ProTour license.
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Spain has reached a preliminary agreement with the Astana team to fulfill his contract until the end of 2010.
"The agreement depends on Astana retaining their ProTour license for 2010 and the introduction of an internal anti-doping program," Contador's press office said on Thursday.
Although Astana missed one deadline on Oct. 20, the governing International Cycling Union (UCI) is expected to reach a possibly definitive decision on a license by Friday.
After a turbulent 2009, Contador had threatened to leave the Kazakh-funded Astana outfit and had opened negotiations with several other leading teams, having had contact with Caisse d'Epargne, Quick Step, Garmin-Slipstream and Liquigas.
Despite winning the Tour in July, the Spaniard's year was also marked by delayed wages and a stormy relationship with Astana teammate and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong. However, Thursday's statement from his press office said:
"(Contador) has taken the decision to complete his contract with Astana having confirmed that both Yvon Sanquer, the new team manager, and sports director Giuseppe Martinelli guarantee the seriousness and competitiveness of the new Astana project."
"In a short space of time they have managed to bring together a group of riders of great quality with which to tackle the sporting challenges of the next season."
"The duration of the contract will be only one year because, apart from being a new project for Astana, Alberto Contador does not wish to renounce the option of making a decision about his longer term future," added the statement.
Armstrong said in July he was quitting Astana to form a new RadioShack squad in 2010. The American's long-standing manager Johan Bruyneel and the team's top riders, compatriot Levi Leipheimer and German Andreas Kloeden, are set to follow him.