Davis in talks with Astana
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Davis in talks with Astana

by Steve Jones at 12:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Sprinter Allan Davis told the Australian paper the NewsMail that he's considering moving to another team in 2010.

The sprinter was left off the Tour de France roster after team captain Tom Boonen won a legal battle with race organizer the Amaury Sports Organization. The ASO tried to ban Boonen from the race for the second consecutive year, the fallout from two positive out-of-competition doping controls for cocaine.

“They should have put both of us in and the team knows it as well,” Davis told the NewsMail in July. It's a decision that likely didn't sit well after Boonen's miserable showing in the Tour.

In the week leading up to the Tour Davis confirmed his form with two podium finishes in the Ster Elektrotoer, both ahead of his team captain.

In an email to the NewsMail Davis said, “Astana and other teams are interested."  Only citing the talks with the Kazakh squad.

“I have one more year on contract with Quick Step, that's true, but there is a buy-out clause if needed.”

The return of Alexandre Vinokourov after serving a two-year doping ban has caused turmoil on the Kazakh team resulting in a mass exodus of its core group, including manager Johan Bruyneel, to Lance Armstrong's new RadioShack squad. The move has opened up plenty of places on the team, but recent history shows that signing for Astana will come with its own set of risks.

Davis ended the season strongly with second place finishes in both the Grand Prix de Wallonie and Paris-Brussels.

Background:

In 2008 Davis was forced to downgrade from a team with ProTour status to a Pro Continental team largely because of ties to the Operación Puerto doping scandal. Certainly a big blow to a rider who's made his way to the top level of the sport, but nevertheless, better than having a forced early retirement.  His name was eventually cleared from the doping scandal by the Spanish Courts, but the damage was already done leaving the cyclist in a bad situation.

The previous year Davis rode for Discovery, a team run by Johan Bruyneel, and the final incarnation of the squad that guided Lance Armstrong through his seven Tour de France victories. Discovery decided not to extend their sponsorship beyond 2007, and the fallout from doping scandals in the sport left an extremely difficult market. Bruyneel was unable to secure funds to continue on with the team.

Davis negotiated a contract with Mitsubishi-Jartazi for the 2008 season. The signing kept the Australian in the game, and he found his way to the podium several times throughout the season. It was his consistency that caught the eye of Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere. With the departure of Boonen's leadout man Gert Steegmans, Davis was given the opportunity to race once again in the big leagues.

He was released from his contract with Mitsubishi-Jartazi in September 2008, and immediately began to earn his keep with a stage win and the points classification in the Tour of Poland.

Davis started out the 2009 season on a high note, winning several stages on his way to sealing up the points classification and overall victory in his home race, the Tour Down Under.

From there he finished an impressive fourth in Milan-Sanremo, while his team captain, Tom Boonen, could only manage fifteenth place citing cramps.

Davis continued to show good form throughout the Giro d'Italia, where he found himself on the podium three times. His form was again confirmed in the Ster Elektrotoer just before the start of the 2009 the Tour de France.

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