Contador to explore options, agent confirms get-out clause may be used
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Contador to explore options, agent confirms get-out clause may be used

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

As expected, Alberto Contador will explore the possibility of leaving Astana after the team failed to meet an initial deadline in relation to its ProTour licence.

“If there is a clause, we will study the options that gives us,” his brother and agent Fran Contador confirmed to the Spanish newspaper AS.

The double Tour de France winner has made clear for several months that if possible, he will seek to get out of the remaining one year of his contact with the team. He has faced a lot of extra stress this season due to financial and political complications within its structure, and wants a fresh start somewhere else.

Earlier this month Contador appeared to be resigned to staying with the team, but yesterday’s news appeared to give him a way out that he had not anticipated. It was announced that the Kazakh team - along with four others, namely Caisse d'Epargne, Eusktaltel-Euskadi, Saxo Bank and Team Sky – had missed the October 20th deadline to supply all necessary documentation.

While it has a final deadline of November 20th to satisfy the UCI that it should keep the licence, UCI rules state that riders are free to leave if that October 20th date is missed.

Fran Contador told AS that they will speak to the team before making their minds up. "Soon we will have a meeting with Kazakh leaders so that they can tell us what their project is for next year,” he said. “Then, we will decide what is best for Alberto.”

A number of teams are interested in signing the Spaniard, with Quick Step, Caisse d’Epargne and Garmin Slipstream three who have been confirmed as having talked with Contador. On the surface, Caisse d’Epargne seems to some to be the most logical destination, given that it is based in Spain and current leader Alejandro Valverde’s future is unknown. However Garmin and Quick Step will court the double Tour winner regardless.

The latter has been predominantly a team for the Classics and sprints, but has said that Contador could bring five riders of his choosing in order to give him support for the general classification. Interestingly, 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro has confirmed that he has been in discussions with the team, something that is likely to fuel speculation that Contador could end up there.

"I can not deny that we are in talks. Quick Step is a team which I love, and hopefully we can reach an agreement," he told Radio Galega.

Pereiro has not yet returned to top form following a bad crash in last year’s Tour de France. He was considering finishing his career by riding a season with the Xacobeo Galicia team, but talks there have gone cold.

"Hopes of reaching an agreement with the Xacobeo Galicia team have vanished because for 15 days or more do not know anything,” he said. “I understand that what could be a dream [to race with his home team] is over. I must look abroad for the possibility of racing another year.”


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