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Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) wins Milano-Torino
Former professional José Luis de Santos to direct squad
The Alberto Contador Specialized Foundation launching in 2013 will give young cyclists the opportunity to race under the direction of retired professional and former Spanish national coach José Luis de Santos. De Santos rode for Banesto between 1991-1995 and led the national team at the 2009 UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio where Joaquim Rodríguez and Samuel Sanchez finished third and fourth respectively.
The team created by Contador will begin next season as a junior squad for 17-18-year-olds and will have a roster of approximately 15 riders according to a release on his personal website. Specialized will supply the bikes and other equipment while many of Contador's ProTeam sponsors from Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank will also support the team.
"It's a very exciting project. Being close to Alberto and Fran Contador is a great opportunity and did not hesitate when they offered me the chance", said de Santos. "Going back to work with the cycling base is very nice and I think we can bring many things to the formation of the riders. In addition, the project will continue to grow and this foundation can be very important for the future of Spanish cycling."
"We are thrilled with this project", said Contador. "Because we are working for the future of our sport, which is something we love. We want to support the young cyclist in a particularly difficult times in which many teams and many races are disappearing."
The first season of the project headlined by Contador will be purely for the junior development side of the sport however, the Foundation is being designed as a long-term project. Contador's team manager Fran Contador added that additional teams are set to form in the coming years.
"The first season will begin with the junior team, but there will also be a under 23 team and probably another for women, thus completing the cycle prior to jumping to the professional ranks. Then they can make the move to the top step but for now the idea is to become the reference for young teams."