Contador signs with Saxo Bank until end of 2015
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Friday, June 08, 2012

Contador signs with Saxo Bank until end of 2015

by Shane Stokes at 7:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spaniard returns to Riis

Alberto ContadorFollowing a spate of rumours about where he might be competing after his suspension ends on August 5th, Alberto Contador and the Saxo Bank team have confirmed that he has inked a three and a half year contract with the team.

The Spaniard, who won the 2007 and 2009 Tours de France, will be part of Bjarne Riis’ setup until the end of 2015, targeting that race and others in the squad’s colours.

"The decision to return to Team Saxo Bank has actually been pretty easy, and my first priority was always to rejoin the team and to continue working with Bjarne Riis and the rest of the team,” he said in the team’s announcement.

“The support I have experienced from them in a very difficult situation is extraordinary. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the bike, and my aim is to repay that support, hopefully with some great results,"

Contador joined the team prior to the 2011 season, but was then announced as having tested positive for Clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France. He fought those charges, initially being cleared by the Spanish cycling federation RFEC, and continued to race. He won the Giro d’Italia and several other events, but those results plus the 2010 Tour victory were ultimately stripped by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled on the case on February 6th.

It also handed him a two year, partially-backdated ban, which ends on August 4th. He is currently training hard for his big goal of the Vuelta a Espana.

Riis said that both parties were keen to continue working together. "A lot of speculations and rumours have surrounded Alberto Contador and his future in the past months, but both our sponsors, the team and Alberto have shared the same wish to continue and built on our relationship,” he said.

“All along throughout these last two tough years we have stood by Alberto, so to be able to announce his return to the team is something I have been really looking forward to. Now we can put an end to this speculation and start focusing on building the team for the coming years.”

Sponsor Saxo Bank had previously said that its renewal with the team would be done on a year by year basis; it is unclear if it has also given a three year commitment, or if Riis may need to find other backers in future.

The UCI has said that Contador’s points couldn’t be considered in determining whether or not the team would have a WorldTour licence. If Riis wants to continue holding a UCI ProTeam licence, he will either need to successfully fight this regulation before CAS, or to sign other successful riders to ensure he has the required points.

If the latter is the case, it’s likely that the team budget will need to increase. More details of the financial setup are likely to emerge in time. For now, though, the main news is that Contador and Riis have committed to each other for three and a half years. 

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