Pereiro ready to back Contador, anticipates no problems on Astana team
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pereiro ready to back Contador, anticipates no problems on Astana team

by VeloNation Press at 8:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

One day after learning that the Astana team would honor his 2010 contract after all, Oscar Pereiro has said that things have been fully resolved with the Kazakh squad. He had threatened legal action after an agreed deal looked like it was falling through, but this week said that the final turnaround was both quick and unexpected.

"It [the team] straightened out the matter then and there….without any negotiations or anything,” he told the Vos de Galicia newspaper. “Team officials contacted me to say they had thought about it and what was happening was not logical, because they had agreed [terms]. That they would respect what was signed. And that we'd talk later about what happened.”

Pereiro indicated that he didn’t know the full extent of the situation, but feels that the team leader Alberto Contador probably mediated to sort out the issue. “I talked a couple of times with Alberto and I told him that I felt like I joined the team. I had a conversation with him last Saturday and after that things started to rectify themselves.

The Galician rider highlighted his class when he won the 2006 Tour de France. He grabbed the yellow jersey when a breakaway move he was in gained almost half an hour on the peloton but, once in the Maillot Jaune, he rode as strongly as the other main contenders in the defence of his tunic.

The only one who was able to take the jersey from his back was Floyd Landis, who led the race, lost almost ten minutes due to a hunger flat, then bounced back the following day to win the stage to Morzine and move back within striking distance of Pereiro.

Landis eventually won the race, but was then disqualified after a positive test for testosterone.

Pereiro has not reached the same heights since then but he’s looking forward to getting back into strong condition and assisting Contador. He doesn’t worry that the recent dispute between him and the team will cause any lingering effects.

“This has been a drag for me but now everything has changed,” he explained. “In a few days nobody will remember this soap opera and everyone will focus themselves on the sporting aspects.

He said that he doesn’t anticipate any problems with either general manager Yvon Sanquer or sporting director Giuseppe Martinelli. “I have a lot of time to exchange views with Sanquer and Giuseppe Martinelli, and I don’t bear any grudge. That said, I understand that the first time we see each other will be a bit shocking”

The two undoubtedly realise that he has a vital role to play for Contador in the year ahead. From his side, Pereiro embraces the chance. “I have been signed for that reason,” he explained. “I want to be a big team-mate, as I was for many years. This team has been built around Alberto. If I can shine, I will do that. I still don’t know what my programme will be like but I would like to return to the Tour. I know that is in my hands – if I am at a good level, I can be there.”


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