Contador wins in Mexico, expects Astana ProTour decision tomorrow
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Contador wins in Mexico, expects Astana ProTour decision tomorrow

by Conal Andrews at 8:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Alberto Contador has been very quiet since winning the Tour de France in July, but the Spaniard was in action on Saturday in the Gran Premio Cancun races in Mexico.

The Astana rider beat his compatriots Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in the 14 lap points race, which also saw Michael Rasmussen take part. The Dane has links with the country and was clearly motivated, riding aggressively for the Tecos team. He took fifth, one place behind Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).

"They made my job very difficult," Contador said, according to L’Equipe. “But I made them think I was worse than I was and I was able to keep my strength for the final."

Valverde earlier won a three mile time trial there, clocking a time of four minutes and five seconds and going two seconds quicker than Ruben Plaza and Contador. With both races counting towards the final classification, Contador was the outright winner ahead of Valverde and Freire.

Valverde won the Vuelta a España in September, marking the first Grand Tour of his career. In all he took eight wins in UCI races this season – two stages of the Tour of Castilla y León, the Klasika Primavera, a stage plus the overall classification of the Vuelta a Catalunya, as well as general classification victories in the Dauphiné Libéré, the Vuelta a Burgos and the Vuelta a España. Caisse d’Epargne netted 24 victories in all.

Unlike many of their rivals who are relaxing after a long season, both Valverde and Contador are under a considerable amount of stress at the moment. Valverde is facing two hearings with the Court of Arbitation in Sport over his links with the Operación Puerto scandal, with the first of those – his appeal against CONI’s decision to ban him from racing on Italian soil – due to be heard on November 16th.

Contador still doesn’t know where he will be racing next year, although he has said that he expects to know that tomorrow. He still has one year of his contract left with Astana. Due to the huge amount of uncertainty around the team, his preference is to leave and ride for another squad.

However the lack of a get-out clause means that he is obliged to stay with Astana unless the team loses its ProTour licence. The UCI will shortly make a decision about its place in cycling’s elite; Contador has, for the first time, indicated that he is willing to stay if the licence is retained.

Otherwise, he’ll resume negotiations with a number of teams that are courting him, including Quick Step, Caisse d’Epargne and Garmin Slipstream.

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