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Tour non-selection beginning of the end for Spaniard
Oscar Pereiro (Astana) has intimated his intention to retire at the end of the 2010 season. “This will be my last year on the bike, definitely”, Pereiro told La Voz de Galicia. The 2006 Tour de France winner has been left out of Astana’s line-up for this year’s event, and it seems that this disappointment is a weighty factor in his decision. “I think that the time has come to say ‘enough’. I’ve thought about it for a long time, it’s correct. Also because there would be no sense in living another season like this one,” said Pereiro.
Pereiro’s time with Astana has been fraught with difficulty from the beginning. After signing Pereiro as support for Alberto Contador during the winter, the Kazakh team sought to renegotiate a lower contract with him before the season had even begun. His season to date has been bereft of results as he has struggled for form, and he was philosophical about his exclusion. “This is a team going with the intention of winning the Tour, and you can’t go there to play around”, he said.
His intention now is to take “an unexpected July holiday” and then “think about riding the Vuelta a España”, which will likely be Pereiro’s swansong in the professional peloton.
Pereiro was awarded overall victory in the 2006 Tour de France following Floyd Landis’ positive test for testosterone, although his own victory was also marred by controversy when it emerged that he had tested positive during the race for salbutamol on two occasions. However, in January 2007, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) dropped its investigation after Pereiro offered justification for his use of the substance as a treatment for asthma. Pereiro suffered a serious crash in the 2008 Tour de France, and has struggled to regain his previous levels in the past couple of seasons.