After months of speculation about his future, two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador announced that he and his current team Astana have reached a preliminary agreement to fulfill the remainder of the contract that binds them through the end of 2010, assuming some conditions are met.
Both sides agreed on Thursday that Contador will continue with Astana for 2010 if the team retains its ProTour license, remains in strict compliance with the code of ethics and maintains an internal doping control system.
Contador's decision came after he learned that Yvon Sanquer would take over as new team manager and Giuseppe Martinelli would be a director sportif, thereby, according to Contador, "ensuring the reliability and competitiveness of the new Astana's project".
Contador also noted that over a short period a time, the team had managed to gather "a group of high-quality riders who'll help guarantee success in the next season".
The signed contract will cover a one-year period, meaning Contador could make a decision to pursue a future with other teams after the end of 2010.
The preliminary agreement by no means secures Contador's future as one of the conditions is yet to be met. Tomorrow's final deadline for the UCI's registration of teams is crucial for the future of the Astana team. The governing body is poised to make a decision about whether or not the Kazakh squad will continue in the ProTour.
Contador has been in talks with other teams such as Quick Step, Caisse d'Epargne, Garmin Slipstream and Liquigas in recent months. He recently signed a personal sponsorship deal with Specialized Bicycles.
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