As Cyclingnews reported during the Criterium du Dauphine in June, Alberto Contador is close to signing a contract extension with Trek-Segafredo, with L'Equipe breaking the news on Tuesday that the Spaniard will put pen to paper on the first rest day of the Tour de France.
Contador, 34, signed for Trek at the exact same point last season, when he agreed a deal for 2017, with the option of a second season left open for both him and the team. Contador has not won a race so far this season, but he has come close on several occasions, most notably when he took second place overall in Paris-Nice.
Despite Contador's advancing years, Trek believe that the former Tour de France winner can maintain a high level for the next 18 months, while the bike brand has been particularly impressed with the level of feedback and analysis he has provided both on their products and his previous set-ups on other manufacturers' bikes.
There had been some speculation earlier in the year that Contador was looking for a 2018 contract that would only take him through until the end of the Giro d'Italia. However, while he and his camp still want one last crack at the Italian Grand Tour, Trek has gently pressed for a full calendar year. A half-year deal would leave them exposed for the second half of the season and limit their options on the transfer market for 2018. Contador's contract extension would mean that he and Bauke Mollema would lead the team for the second year in a row.
"It's clear that we're in negotiations with Alberto. At the moment, our focus is on the Tour de France. Nothing is decided yet but we're working together quite well at the moment, so we'll see if can arrive together at a final deal," Luca Guercilena told Cyclingnews at the Tour. "We're talking about the season. In his deal, he has an option for 2018. It's a complete season.”
Asked if Contador was planning to return to the Giro in 2018, Guercilena said: "We're not talking about the calendar right now. The most important part is to focus now on the Tour de France and then we'll sit down and talk about the future calendar.”
Contador's contract extension is the clearest indication yet that the team will not make a move for Fabio Aru, or any other GC rider. Guercilena is a keen admirer of Aru and Italian sponsor Segafredo would like a homegrown rider on the team leading them in stage races.
Aru's position, however, remains unclear. He is said to be looking for a new 3 million Euro deal – a price his current Astana squad are reluctant to meet. That means the Tour de France is pivotal in Aru's next move, with UAE Team Emirates just one of the potential suitors.
"There will be no more room for GC riders," Guercilena confirmed.
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