Contador to split with Astana

He's not staying with the Kazakh outfit, but where will he go?

by Dave Atkinson   July 28, 2010  

Alberto Contador, Tour de France 2010, Paris (Photosport Intl)

In an announcement that's as shocking as the one about bears' toilet habits that we've also just been handed, Alberto Contador has announced that he will be leaving Astana in a statement today. He has rejected an offer by the Kazakh outfit to extend his contract, and says he will "calmly explore all possibilities available to him"

The statement issued on the Spaniard's behalf today said: "Alberto Contador has rejected the ultimatum of the Astana team, who had asked for a definitive answer to its offer of a contract renewal for the coming seasons.

"Contador had asked for time to consider his future, given the importance of this decision. Although the positions of both parties were not so far apart, the team wanted to know urgently whether or not the winner of the Triple Crown would lead the team in 2011, and that's where the positions began to differ.

"After winning the 2010 Tour de France, Alberto Contador wants to have time to calmly explore all possibilities available to him to ride during the coming seasons, but so far none has been excluded."

Contador joined Astana in October 2007 from the Discovery Channel team with whom he secured his first Tour win in July of the same year. He was unable to defend his title in 2008 after Astana were banned from the Tour following a doping scandal that landed Alxandre Vinokourov with a two-year ban. After El Pistolero's subsequent return and victory in 2009, and his recent defence of the title, he'll no doubt have his pick of offers.

One intriguing possibility is that of Fernando Alonso bankrolling a Tour team. We reported in February that the F1 driver was considering creating his own team. "It's a project for me – a kind of dream I have because I love cycling", said Alonso at the time. "Creating a top team and being in a position to win the Tour de France will give me a nice feeling".

Should that ever transpire, Contador would certainly be first name on the target list, as the two are good friends. It wouldn't have to wait until Alonso's retirement from F1, either. "it can happen at the same time,” he said of the proposed team. “It is something Alberto and I can work on. As I said I'm very open. I know this year he is with Astana but from next year onwards, for sure, if there is an opportunity I will be very interested. I think he will be interested as well". Well, he's not with Astana now...

Contador was also linked with Garmin-Transitions in last winter, and there will no doubt be a number of other teams doinf their sums right now to see if they can afford to employ him.

9 user comments

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If the Alonso team has had 6 months of secret planning sessions and has been kept underwraps then it is a possibility. Otherwise no chance, as there isn't enough time. I would also worry for the little teams if yet another new Pro team comes along, as it looks like the Schlecks are making a new team too.

Otherwise, what options does he have?

Sky have the money but not with Wiggins here

Saxobank/Riis team if the Schlecks go and it would help get a new sponsor

Radioshack now that Lance has gone?!

Garmin would be my tip as Vaughters has suggested that Van de Velde needs time off to get his head straight

posted by othello [279 posts]
28th July 2010 - 15:35

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I remember a story about Contador leaving Astana last year...

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1332 posts]
28th July 2010 - 16:07

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So it kind of goes towards answering my question in the forum then!

Any news on the Schlecks team?

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
28th July 2010 - 16:08

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Quote:
Any news on the Schlecks team?

not yet...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
28th July 2010 - 16:14

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Plenty of rumour that Bertie will go to Saxo Bank with the Schlecks jumping ship to form their own team...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
28th July 2010 - 16:35

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Remember - Bjarne, Johan, Fernando, David - don't get carried away if he points in your direction. It doesn't necessarily mean he has chosen to ride for your team. That's just the way he celebrates.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
28th July 2010 - 17:36

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That depends on Riis getting a sponsor to replace Saxo Bank, which he hasn't managed to pull off yet.

posted by othello [279 posts]
28th July 2010 - 17:39

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I thought the latest rumours were that Specialized would step up from bike supplier to co-sponsor with Sungard. Bert signed a personal deal with Specialized last year before he confirmed staying with Astana for this year.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
28th July 2010 - 18:15

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handlebarcam wrote:
I thought the latest rumours were that Specialized would step up from bike supplier to co-sponsor with Sungard. Bert signed a personal deal with Specialized last year before he confirmed staying with Astana for this year.

How long is the Spesh contract for? Just while at Astana or longer? That will limit his team choice or put another bike brand's nose out of joint I guess.

I'd love to see a Spesh team tbh.

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
28th July 2010 - 18:37

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