Contador to ride for Quick-Step?
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Contador to ride for Quick-Step?

by Steve Jones at 10:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevre might have his sights set on bringing a Tour de France win to his Belgian team by signing 2009 champion Alberto Contador. Contador and his manager Fran, who is also Contador's brother, sat down with Lefevre to discuss the possibility of the move.

Lefevre told HLN that he is "exploring the possibilities" of taking the two-time Tour de France winner on to the team, knowing that he is technically under contract with team Astana for 2010. His Astana contract means that any deal will have to include a payoff to the Kazakh team.

An Astana offer of 4 million Euros per year for four years has already been refused by Contador, meaning the Spaniard doesn't want to risk missing the Tour in controversy -- at any cost -- as he did in 2008.  With the eminent return of Alexandre Vinokourov to Astana after a two-year doping ban, there may indeed be a problem with the Kazakh team gaining entry into the race.

Aside from Clásica San Sebastián winner Carlos Barredo, Quick-Step doesn't have a Spanish contingent on the team. Even though he won't have many compatriots, a move to the Belgian team would certainly be an attractive option for other important reasons. Firstly, Quick-Step has a brilliant tactician in Lefevre, which will be critical when battling against Team RadioShack's Johan Bruyneel. Secondly, the team also has the resources to bolster their lineup with the firepower needed to bring home the yellow jersey.

Contador says he's shopping around and already has an offer on the table from Caisse d' Epargne. The team is the home of compatriot and national star Alejandro Valverde. Valverde will soon be facing a hearing at the Court of Arbitration in Sport called by the International Cycling Union trying to extend his current Italian doping ban worldwide.

Garmin-Slipstream have also shown interest in the Spaniard, which would bring the drama of two American teams going head-to-head for next year's Tour de France crown, with RadioShack's Lance Armstrong looking to regain his Tour dominance. If some of their key riders move to Britain's Team Sky it would make the signing even more significant.

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