The winner of this year's Tour de France, Alberto Contador, declined a contract extension with team Astana Wednesday. He plans to leave the Kazakh squad at the end of this season, although he is still has one more year in his contract.
Spain's Contador received an offer from the Kazakh government to remain with the team for an additional four years, earning four million euro net per year, according to L'Equipe. "Indeed, this proposal has been made," said Contador's brother and manager Francisco Javier. It also offered Contador sole leadership within the team even with the return of Alexander Vinokourov. "It is a rather appealing offer."
But Contador, tired from the power struggles within the team, declined the proposal. "I replied that we refuse and that Alberto's future wasn't about money only," said Francisco Javier.
"I said that Alberto had experienced a demanding season psychologically and that we now had to take care of his future and his tranquility. This season, there was [team manager Johan] Bruyneel on one side, the Kazakhs on the other side and Alberto in the middle, without us really knowing what was happening. We have nothing against the Kazakhs, to the contrary, but now we have to seriously think about Alberto. Things are too complicated to continue in these conditions."
Contador's teammate Lance Armstrong has already announced he will leave and form his new team, RadioShack, together with manager Johan Bruyneel and several of Astana's other star riders. Contador knows that building up a competitive squad from scratch around him as Grand Tour leader will be difficult. Contador likely to join an existing team that is able to meet his sporting needs.
Contador won the Tour for the second time this year, two years after his first. He missed the 2008 edition, but he raced and won the two other Grand Tours: the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.