Spaniard Alberto Contador, winner of the 2007 Tour de France, has signed a two-year contract to ride for the Astana team. The 24 year-old follows in the footsteps of his directeur sportif from Discovery Channel, Johan Bruyneel, who will work in a general managerial role for the Kazakh-funded squad.
In a personal press note released on Tuesday, Contador said he had chosen Astana because it allowed his to focus entirely on the 2008 Tour de France. "My main goal in 2008 is to ride the Tour and try to wear the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysées," he said.
"After weighing some interesting offers I had, I decided on Astana because it is an entirely new project and puts all available means into having a great team for the Tour de France."
The previous Astana team suffered a string of doping scandals this year, and was forced out of the Tour de France after Alexander Vinokourov tested positive for a blood transfusion during the race. Another Astana rider, Andrey Kascheskin, was later caught by a surprise out-of-competition control in Turkey.
However, the 2008 Astana team, which has Frenchman Alain Gallopin and former Discovery rider Viatcheslav Ekimov as directeur sportifs, is keen to distance itself from its troubled past. "It is clear that the new Astana has nothing to do with the old team," Contador told Marca earlier this month.