Contador happy at Astana, but still has get out clause
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Contador happy at Astana, but still has get out clause

by Ben Atkins at 1:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

With Astana managing to keep its ProTour status this week, Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is set to stay, but he still has a way out if circumstances conspire to keep the Kazakh team out of July’s race.

There is speculation that the return of Alexandre Vinokourov , banned for blood-doping during the 2007 Tour, might cause the organisers to withdraw Astana’s invitation. This could cause Contador to miss the biggest race of the year, through no fault of his own, for the third time in five years; something he is obviously anxious to avoid.

According to Contador’s new contract, as renegotiated by his brother Fran, if a grudge against Vinokourov, a repeat of this year’s financial problems, or a doping scandal within the team causes Tour de France organisers ASO to withdraw Astana’s invitation, the Spaniard will be free to sign for another team.

Assuming all is well, Contador is pleased to be able to put the last few months behind him, and is looking forward to starting 2010 with the new look team. “I am very satisfied with the technical team because they are doing a very serious job and that is important for everyone,” he said in a press release.

“About riders, I think we will have a good team, not as powerful, especially in terms of names, as others facing the Tour, but I am confident on how we’ll work and the great motivation we well have on the Tour.”

Although he knows the big target of his season, the build up is not currently decided: “Not yet, he said, “beyond knowing that what I will concentrate on over all is the Tour de France. At the beginning of the season I like to be good, but this year I want to take it with relative calm.”

In all, Contador is confident for next year and is pleased to finally be settled: “After all the circumstances that have occurred in these months,” he said, “I think in the end I made the best decision and all I can say is that I will fight a hundred percent of my ability to win the Tour. I realise that everyone is prepared at their peak and that will be very difficult, but as far as I can, I will fight again for the victory.”

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