Andreas Klöden has joined the chorus of Team Astana riders who is looking for his back pay. "I haven't received any money since August," he told German sports tabloid Sportbild. "If nothing happens by Christmas, we will go to the UCI. Astana has paid a bank guarantee there, out of which we can be paid. That money is due to us. We have fulfilled our contracts and showed very good results. We can't be held responsible for the mistakes of others."
Various riders from the 2007 Astana team have claimed that they have not been paid their salaries for the last few months. Meanwhile, incoming General Manager Johan Bruyneel has told Cyclingnews that he is working with the sponsors and the UCI to correct the situation.
In Astana colours next season?
Nevertheless, the 2008 Astana roster has yet to be made official, and the name of the 2006 Tour de France runner-up still has to appear on the list of riders that must be sent to the UCI by December 15. At the moment, the team has too many riders with a valid contract coming from the 2007 management of the Astana team. Klöden said that he assumed he will ride for the team again in 2008. "Why not? I have a valid contract," he said. "Bruyneel spoke with me in the beginning of November and is interested in me." Thinking of the team strategy for the next Tour de France, where he would then work for Astana's leader Alberto Contador, Klöden added, "We know that it is better at the Tour de France to have a variety of possibilities. That makes a team more difficult to figure out."
Speaking of various former teammates, he said that he stayed in touch with Jan Ullrich. "We are friends," he explained. "Jan is underway a lot right now, but when we are both home, then we get together regularly." He didn't have that same contact with Alexander Vinokourov. "I have heard that he lives with his family in Kazakhstan again and wants to open a big training center in Astana," he added.
With his former sponsor Deutsche Telekom pulling out of the sport with immediate effect - another blow for German cycling after an already restless season, Klöden said that at the moment, "things look sad for cycling. But we must pull ourselves together to bring in positive headlines for our sport. We must put an end to its destruction."