Suggestions in the Belgian press yesterday indicated that Alberto Contador is being targeted for a move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep when his ban runs out in August, and these have been backed up by comments today from team manager Patrick Lefevere.
The 57-year-old Belgian appears determined to snatch the Spanish rider from Saxo Bank, who remain favourites to tie Contador down to a deal. Saxo Bank annuled their contract with Contador in February after CAS handed him a ban for testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. Contador has hinted at a return to his former team at numerous points in the last few weeks. This hasn't put Lefevere off the chase for arguably cycling's biggest star, though he admits that the possibility of securing his signature still looks remote.
"I'm always interested in a free rider with great potential," Lefevere told the Gazet Van Antwerpen. "I stated this to Contador's management and have been trying to pin a date for an interview. We are no strangers to each other. I am trying to get an interview in June but I expect no result."
When pressed about how Contador could potentially be accomodated into his budget and his squad, which has enjoyed tremendous success so far this season, Lefevere stated that they would find a way to fit him in.
"The money does not grow on our backs, but as a champion we would make additional funds available for Contador," he said. "And also for those few riders who he likes to be with him. We also have a few guys who know what climbing is. Plus after this season there will be places free, because two of my riders are out of contract."