Spanish team close to signing Valverde
The Movistar Team has extended the contracts of Andrey Amador, Pablo Lastras, and Sergio Pardilla and is reported to be on the verge of agreeing a three-year contract with Alejandro Valverde who is currently serving a two-year suspension for doping.
The new contracts are the “reward for good performances throughout the 2011 season in the blue colours,” the team said.
Amador, 24, will be the first Costa Rican ever to start the Tour de France. He was the victim of an assault whilst training in January, suffering kidney and lung injuries. He came back to open his season in the Mallorca Challenge, and has ridden a full schedule of races before the Tour de France. His best results were fourth in the GP Llodio and the Vuelta a la Rioja.
Pardilla, 27, rode the Giro d'Italia for Movistar. The climber already has 11 pro victories, although this is his first year with a ProTeam. His contract was extended for one year.
Lastras has signed up for another two years. He turned pro in 1998 with Banesto, and all of his professional years have been spent with team manager Eusebio Unzue. The 35-year-old recently finished 38th in the Giro d'Italia.
Valverde for 2012 and beyond
The Movistar team is also said to be close to a three-year contract with Valverde, to run from 2012 to 2014, according to the Diario de Navarra. He will be eligible to ride again as of January 1, 2012.
Valverde, 31, had been with the team since 2005, and is said to have kept in close contact with Unzue during his suspension. He has been seen training with the Movistar riders and the Spanish team has always said there would be a place for him in the team despite his ban for doping.