2006 Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro has admitted that his career looks to be at an end. Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon in Vigo, northwest Spain, Pereiro also revealed more details about the contract he had agreed with Astana and the subsequent impasse with the Kazakh-backed team that has led to him threatening legal action against them.
"The most likely scenario is that this will be my farewell," said the Spaniard. "I am the most realistic of people and that's my view. My representatives are trying to find a way out of this and are talking to other teams, but that is going to be extremely difficult now as I have a signed contract that comes into force on January 1. That means I can't sign with another team because then there would be two contracts in force. Before I could do that Astana would have to rescind theirs."
Pereiro then went on to explain how the agreement with Astana had come about and where it had gone wrong. "The day after the benefit race that I organise, the directeur sportif at Astana, Giuseppe Martinelli, called me to say that they had received everything from the UCI and that the medical team had gone through the biological details and everything was fine.
"But from that point on I began to notice distance growing between the two sides because I wasn't getting any news from them. Then, after several days of uncertainty, the manager at Astana [Frenchman Yvon Sanquer] called me to see if we could renegotiate the contract and I said no because I'd already reduced my asking price by a third."
Pereiro revealed how he later got another call from Sanquer in which the Frenchman told him he was under "a lot of pressure" to break the contract and that they could not pay Pereiro the salary agreed. "They told me that they had been hasty in signing me up on that salary," said Pereiro."I told them that I understood but I wasn't going to reduce my salary given that I was competing in a foreign country and with a totally new set-up. My salary was going to be three or four times less than what I was earning at Caisse d'Epargne."
He then explained that this last conversation took place last Friday [November 27]. "They told me that they were under pressure and they could not honour the contract. For that reason, I told them that I was putting the affair in the hands of my lawyers and they are telling me that I've got a good case because there are numerous facts that show that there is an agreement between the two parties," said Pereiro. He concluded by saying that if Astana do not retreat from their position within the next five days he will commence legal action against them.