By Susan Westemeyer
Andreas Klöden, a two-time podium finisher in the Tour de France, does not plan to leave Team Astana to find another team with which to race the event, his manager Tony Rominger said Thursday. The ASO announced Wednesday that it would not invite Team Astana this year to any of the races it organizes, including the Tour de France. While riding for T-Mobile Team, Klöden finished second in the Tour in 2004 and third in 2006.
"He has a valid contract [with Astana] through the end of the year," Rominger told the German news agency dpa. "We will first meet and come up with an alternative race schedule. A change is not a theme with us."
Even if he wanted to change, it would be difficult. "The teams have all already signed the riders they want. It is very hard for me to imagine that they might change their strategy," Rominger said, according to the sid press agency. "We can't panic, but must see how we go on."
Klöden did not comment Thursday on that decision, although quotes under his name were published by certain German sources. "Andreas Klöden prefers not to react as everything has been said already by the team management. He is surprised to read interviews with him in the German press, since he did not speak with any journalist," Astana press spokesman Philippe Maertens said. Klöden indicated that he would issue a statement within the next few days.