Rumour mill: Contador to Garmin?

by Dave Atkinson   July 30, 2009  

Contador on the podium, Tour de France 2009 (© Photosport International)

There's plenty of unsubstantiated rumours doing the rounds in the cycling world regarding the possibility of Alberto Contador signing a long term deal with the American Garmin-Slipstream team. After having dispatched some of the best riders in the world almost single-handedly this July in France, Contador is sure to leave Astana. Indeed, it's far from clear if there even will be an Astana team next season.

With Lance Armstrong recently announcing that he is riding for Radioshack, the Texan is also expected to bring along many of his Astana teammates. Once the mass exodus is complete, Contador would be left with a handful of serviceable teammates and if Astana continues he'd also be staring at the probable return of controversial Kazakh Alexander Vinokorouv, who's made it absolutely clear who'll be top dog at Astana in his eyes if he makes a comeback: cue another power struggle, which poor Alberto can probably do without.

But Garmin? Well, the AFP story behind the headlines doesn't have much meat on the bones, for sure. 'Rumours in Spain' are credited as the source, which doesn't exactly sound concrete. Vaughters was asked to respond and wouldn't confirm or deny, hardly surprisingly. he did say that "Alberto Contador is an incredible rider and would be a fantastic rider to have on any team", but would that extend to his own?

Garmin is known for its steadfast stance against doping: the team is regarded as probably the most ethical in the pro peloton and subjects its riders to an array of independent tests on top of the UCI controls. And Garmin have shown in the case of Wiggo that it's happy to publish the results, too. After having fielded multiple questions about doping related matters, and effectively being accused of achieving the impossible by Greg lemond, association with Garmin might effectively put to bed any further allegations from the press or from cycling fans.

Garmin is also one of the best stage racing teams as well and with solid time trialers and mountain men: it would be able to lend very strong support to Contador as he tries for a third Tour title in 2010. With Christian Vande Velde and Bradley Wiggins already in tow Contador would thrust the American team into elite status worldwide as one of the best stage racing teams in the world.

Garmin might look at the flip side of the coin though. Contador has never been one to empirically deny doping, and Garmin may see him as a fly in the ethical ointment - he's unlikely to change his approach. And the team already has a GC contender: Wiggo came fourth this year, and although he's ridden the Tour before this was the first time he'd concentrated on the race with the goal of a high overall position. Parachuting Contador in is not going to please the Brit, who is very well liked both withinin Garmin and in the wider peloton, and he's not not one to hold his opinions back: cue more internal wrangling and power struggles.

So will he or won't he? Well, Contador will certainly leave Astana, he's made that plain. But not for Garmin, surely. There's been plenty of rumour that Fernando Alonso is gunning to lure his compatriot to a new team, and that would fit the bill pretty nicely for a rider who's said on record that his next move would be to a team '100% behind me' - what better way for that to happen than to have a team created especially for you?

Not that it'll be his only offer, for sure. There's plenty of big teams that haven't come through the first two grand tours with much in the trophy cabinet, and they (and their sponsors) will be wanting results next year: what better way than scooping up the best climber in the world?

Where do you think the streaky Spaniard will end up? Answers on a postcard. Or, alternatively, in the comments below Smile

5 user comments

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As the guys at road.cc know Im a bit of a garmin slipstream fan, Id not be too happy with contador joining. It sticks with me that he hasnt come out with a particularly anti doping stance, not to say he has doped but he isnt that outspoken against it. Garmin slipstream as a team, as mentioned, are very anti doping and I dont think contadors attitude would fit well.

I think of the alonso thing happens with santander then he could join them, if not them possible caisse d'espagne.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1076 posts]
30th July 2009 - 11:50

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Brailsford said that he had a top rider lined up for Sky, but he saw his biological passport and ran a mile.

In an unrelated comment he said he would not sign Contador if he became available.

Am I putting 2 and 2 together and making 5 here?

posted by woody [14 posts]
30th July 2009 - 14:09

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In that photo it looks like a view through a sniper's sights, though at the current crosshairs it would only graze his thigh. Tell me, do Radioshack make weapons?!

The Man In Black.

posted by gandberg [215 posts]
30th July 2009 - 19:39

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gandberg wrote:
In that photo it looks like a view through a sniper's sights, though at the current crosshairs it would only graze his thigh. Tell me, do Radioshack make weapons?!

No, but they could always supply him with an exploding iPod...

neilwheel's picture

posted by neilwheel [130 posts]
3rd August 2009 - 12:42

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the sights' are off to allow for windage and elevation,
the shooter is at least 400 yards from the "mark" :-]

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [571 posts]
3rd August 2009 - 13:04

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