Bad news for Alberto Contador could be good news for Luke Roberts. The veteran Australian has a good chance to sign with Saxo Bank-SunGard, but apparently only if the Tour de France winner is suspended.
An announcement on Contador's fate is expected shortly. “We don’t know what we’re going to get,” Sport Director Bradley McGee told sbs.com.au.
“Is he (Contador) going to be out for two years, a year, six months, not at all? That obviously will play heavily if we seriously need to bring another rider in.
Roberts would not be a newcomer to the team, having ridden there from 2005 to 2007. “Luke would be the sort of rider that we could bring in if we decide we need another rider because we know him,” McGee said.
“He’s been with the team before, we know what to expect and that’s the reason his name’s on the table. He’s aware of the situation, we’re speaking quite openly. I wouldn’t even go out there and say it’s a strong possibility, ( it’s) 50-50.”
Roberts, 33, was with Team Milram in 2010, but the team ended because of the lack of sponsorship. He then signed with Pegasus, which failed to receive a ProTeam or Professional Continental licence. He is currently riding the Santos Tour Down Under for the UniSA Australian national team.
It is not a new situation for Roberts, who is married to a German woman and lives near Cologne. “A couple of times already I’ve thought I was going to have to end my career and got a lucky break,” he said.
“Then the chance came up with Milram. I had a pretty successful year and had several offers during the Tour de France for this season, but I thought I was doing the right thing by sticking with the Aussie team and probably made the wrong decision in the end.”
Roberts has been very active in the Tour Down Under, and is currently leading the King of the Mountains competition.
“I’ve kept my concentration here so far but I’m slowly starting to get worried,” he said. “Come next week, when this race is over, I’ll be back at home, bills will be due and if I’m still empty handed it’s going to be a really tough year.
“I’d say I’m confident the next two years can be the best of my career but without a team and without access to do the races it could be wasted.”