Astana team denies Contador's signing
Discovery Channel's outgoing director sportif Johan Bruyneel confirmed that he is near to signing a three-year deal to manage a "new Astana" team, but the deal is still complicated by the team's contract with its current director, Marc Biver."Astana will become a new team," Bruyneel told Sporza.be. "A completely different team in all areas." While he will most likely be joined by several riders on his current team, he will not be joined by his second in command, Dirk Demol.
Bruyneel confirmed that his Tour stars Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer were in negotiations with the team, and added that four others will come as well - "[Benjamin] Noval, [Sergio] Paulinho, [Janus] Brajkovic and [Thomas] Vaitkus as well." However, Bruyneel said that Demol will not be among those joining him. The announcement by Bruyneel may, however, be premature as the Astana spokesperson Corinne Druey denied any such negotiations. "Astana cycling team 2007 did not and won't ask Alberto Contador to be a rider on the team next year," Druey told AP. "We're only seeing this in the media. ... The riders of the Astana cycling team don't know what their futures will be."
Bruyneel indicated that he would not act as the director sportif on the new Astana squad, but rather take a more managerial role. "I have nothing more to prove," he said of being the director. "I cannot do better than eight Tour victories in nine years," he continued. Moving up into the ranks of management was something he already had planned to do had the Discovery Channel team not folded, and had already offered the driver's seat to Demol at the Tour de France. He reiterated the offer to Demol after inking a three year deal with the Kazakh squad, but Demol has decided to keep looking.
Demol explained to Sporza.be that he had discussed making the move with Bruyneel, but decided to keep looking. "I was eager to keep working with Johan, but as an assistant-director sportif." He said he did not feel comfortable moving into the role of DS on the new team, and will keep weighing other offers. "I have contact with a few teams. I can't give names, only say there is nothing concrete," said Demol.
With the season wrapping up in less than two weeks, Demol's decision will be made quickly. "Before Paris-Tours (October 14) I want to know where my future lies," Demol declared.