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Alberto Contador (Astana)
Desired option is to leave Astana
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador still has not decided what team he will ride for in 2010. The Spaniard confirmed on Friday that he and his management team are awaiting news on the ProTour licence situation, financial guarantees and other issues.
"I need a team with guarantees - that is the most important thing," he said. "I missed the Tour de France in 2008, and I don't want that to repeat that again. I also need to know who will be running the team; there are many factors."
According to Contador's press agent, Jacinto Vicarte, a decision might be made by this weekend. "It is possible that we will know on the 20th [Sunday]," he said to Cyclingnews. "We are awaiting the UCI's decision [about ProTour contracts] and then, when we have that news, we will be in a better position to decide."
However there appears to be an element of confusion as the UCI has told Cyclingnews that no ProTour decisions relating to Astana are expected shortly. October 20th is the deadline for teams currently holding licences to submit documentation pertaining to bank guarantees, team and management lists and other subjects. This is part of the annual review required for each.
The rider's agent, Fran Contador, said that the desired choice was for his brother to change. "The first choice for us is to leave Astana, to be able to talk to other teams and agree something," he said. "If that is not possible, we will study everything and decide what to do."
Vicarte said that if the UCI decides not to allow Astana to continue with its ProTour licence, it will make things "easier" for Contador to be able to chose a new destination. In that case, he will have a choice of many offers.
Three teams are known to have been negotiating with him about a possible move and, responding to reporters' questions, Contador spoke about each.
"Garmin is an option and we have spoken with them. It is a good team and they had a very good Tour de France. Caisse d'Epargne is very interesting - the team is very strong, as you can see in this Vuelta. And yes, we have also spoken to Quick Step."
Vicarte suggested that there may be others also keen to sign the 26-year-old, who has already won two Tours, one Giro and one Vuelta and is the world's number one ranked rider. "We have talked with many teams," he said, when asked if there were just three options besides his current squad. "Many of them, but we can't do much until we know if Alberto can leave or not. We hope to be able to make a decision soon as we have been waiting a long time."
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for more developments.
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