Oscar Pereiro has admitted that he still has no idea whether or not he will be racing for Astana next season and says that if his contractual problem with the Kazakh team is not resolved quickly he is likely to be forced into retiring from racing at the age of just 32. Speaking to the La Región newspaper in his home region of Galicia in northwest Spain, Pereiro also pointed out that because he has signed a contract with a team, he is not allowed to look for a potential deal elsewhere.
The Spaniard signed a one-year contract with Astana on November 12, but his representatives subsequently received a request from the team for the salary agreed in that contract to be re-negotiated. Pereiro then put the matter in the hands of his lawyers.
Asked if he'd got any explanation for what has happened, Pereiro responded: "I don't know what has happened, nor who is in command at Astana, nor even whether the person who signed the contract [for them] had any decision-making power. The fundamental thing now is that I've got sufficient proof to be able to show that all this isn't some tantrum thrown by me, but is instead something real.
"The big problem is that I can't negotiate with another team because I've signed with Astana. They would have to rescind the contract so that I could avoid being accused of double-dealing… The rosters are all closed now and it would be complicated to find a place somewhere, especially on a strong team. My salary is not stratospheric, but it's also not minimum wage. Moving to Quick Step is impossible. But, in any case, there is still life after cycling."
The 2006 Tour de France champion acknowledged that he had been set on retirement until he received offers to continue next season from Astana and Quick Step. "Perhaps all this is the final thrust that ends my cycling career. My family would be delighted because it knows that nowadays the life of a cyclist is pathetic," he said, perhaps alluding to a recent incident when he was forced to undergo a blood and urine control in a restaurant corridor.
Pereiro denied that all this uncertainty had complicated his life. "It would have been complicated if I had been told I'd got some form of cancer. But what they have done is end the hopes I had of finishing my career in a more impressive way. They have taken away the possibility of me returning after an especially tough year, although I'm not depressed about it. Nothing surprises me in the world of cycling."
Pereiro's last appearance was in July's Tour de France, which he quit unexpectedly at a feed zone during stage eight in the Pyrenees.
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