By Antonio J. Salmerón
After the final race of the UCI's ProTour, Alberto Contador's fate for 2008 remains to be determined. Contador did not contest the Giro di Lombardia but he held onto his third place spot in the final classification.
Contador has been reported to be ready to sign with the reformed Astana team for next year, but recent comments by his manager, Tony Rominger, cast some doubt. Rominger had implied that signing with the Kazakh team could damage Contador's image. Several Astana riders tested positive for doping in 2007; perhaps most notably, star rider Alexander Vinokourov, who tested positive for blood doping during the Tour de France.
Contador felt a need to reply to Rominger's statements and clarify his personal thoughts. "I do not agree with Rominger's opinion. I think it is clear that the new Astana will not be anything like the old one", the Spaniard said to MARCA.
The relationship between Astana and Rominger may be strained since it was Rominger who brought many of the riders to Astana for the 2007 season. Tensions between Marc Biver and management about Biver's role on the team going forward may also be hindering a final signing of Contador by Astana.
Erring on the side of caution lest an Astana deal fall through, Contador reported that he has other options, but that he would prefer to sign with Astana.