Trek-Segafredo has confirmed the signing of Alberto Contador for the 2017 season. Cyclingnewsreported in July that the Spaniard had put pen to paper with the team during the first rest day of the Tour de France, but his new squad opted to wait until after the conclusion of the Vuelta a España to make a formal announcement.
Contador will be joined at Trek-Segafredo by his current Tinkoff directeur sportif Steven de Jongh and his long-term domestique Jesus Hernandez, who has raced alongside him at Liberty Seguros, Astana and the Tinkoff.
Having previously suggested that the 2016 season would be his last in the professional peloton, Contador confirmed his desire to continue for two more years after a successful spring campaign that yielded victory at the Tour of the Basque Country. With his Tinkoff team already set to disband at the end of the current season, Trek-Segafredo quickly emerged as the front-runner to sign Contador.
"I am thrilled about the opportunity that is in front of me. Trek-Segafredo is a very attractive and ambitious project that really inspires me," Contador said in a statement issued on Thursday. "I had some excellent conversations with the team management, and we have a lot of goals and priorities in common. The big objective is to try and win the most important races on the calendar - first and foremost the Tour de France."
Contador was forced out of this year's Tour on stage 9 due to illness, having previously suffered two crashes on the opening two days of racing. He returned to win the Vuelta a Burgos in August and placed fourth overall at the Vuelta a España.
Trek-Segafredo have already signed John Degenkolb for 2017 as they bid to fill the gap left in their roster by the retirement of Fabian Cancellara at the end of the current campaign. The team's existing leader for three-week races is Bauke Mollema, and the Dutchman placed 7th and 11th in his two Tours with Trek to date.
"The sporting side was the key point in my decision. This team is focused on performance, and there's a really strong group of riders with experience in all kinds of terrain, not only the mountains," Contador said. "I like that it's such an open, international group of riders. I am convinced that this team can provide me with the best structure and bring me in the best conditions to the races. I race to win, and I am determined to get intensely invested in this team."
Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena hailed the signing of Contador, who will turn 34 in December. The Spaniard has won seven Grand Tours in the course of his career, and also had victories at the 2010 Tour and 2011 Giro d'Italia revoked in 2012 when he was given a retroactive two-year suspension for his 2010 positive test for clenbuterol.
"Alberto is a formidable rider and a real fighter. He's a champion. There is really no one like Alberto in the current peloton, and we are very happy to welcome him to the team,” said Guercilena, who also welcomed the arrival of De Jongh.
The Dutch directeur sportif has worked closely with Contador since he joined what was then Saxo-Tinkoff in 2013. De Jongh had been forced to resign from his position at Team Sky in 2012 as part of the British squad's so-called 'zero tolerance policy' after he admitted to using banned substances during his racing career.
"It goes without saying that I am very happy to welcome Steven de Jongh to our team. We were looking to enlarge our group of directors for quite some time now," Guercilena said. "Next year the race calendar will be more extended, and we will have more riders on the team."