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Spain's Alberto Contador concerned about Vinokourov's return
Alberto Contador, a winner of all three Grand Tours, envisions problems with the possible return of...
Alberto Contador, a winner of all three Grand Tours, envisions problems with the possible return of Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov. The Spaniard, 25, is worried about the addition of Vinokourov in a team that already includes himself and Lance Armstrong.
"It has the possibility of creating a lot of controversy, but for the moment it's early to tell. We must wait for the UCI's decision on the matter and obey its decision," said Contador in a press release.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) ejected Vinokourov from the 2007 Tour de France for blood doping. He ended a one-year suspension this summer. Vinokourov and Contador rode together in the Manolo Saiz-managed Astana team in 2006.
"We had a good relationship when we were in the same team. But, if there are not any objections [to his return], it could create organisational problems for the team."
Team Astana was reorganised at the end of 2007 and it is now under the management of Johan Bruyneel. Lance Armstrong decided to make his return with the team to be with his former manager in September. Contador and Armstrong will have different programmes for the start of 2009 with the latter focusing on the 2009 Giro d'Italia. Contador won the Italian Grand Tour this year.
"I believe that Lance has made a good decision in riding the Giro," said Contador. "I had the luck to go there and it gave me the opportunity to enjoy the Italians' warmth and I believe that Lance will also enjoy it. Besides, he will have serious chance of winning. I do not know if he will be the number one favourite, but if there were wagers I would bet on him."
Vinokourov was part of the force behind the creation of Team Astana in 2006. He helped assure funds from Kazakhstan businesses for the team.