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Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis
Spaniard's ban expires on August 5
Bjarne Riis hopes to tie Alberto Contador to a contract in the next few weeks. The Spaniard was released from his contract with Riis Cycling and Saxo Bank after the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down a two-year retrospective ban earlier this year for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. Contador had signed for Riis for the start of the 2011 season but due to his ban cannot return to cycling until August, when he will target both the Vuelta a España and Worlds.
However, recent speculation has linked Contador with a number of teams, including Astana, RadioShack, Movistar and the creation of a new Spanish team. With Saxo Bank's current sponsorship coming to an end this year - although Riis says they're keen to commit to the future - Contador's signature could be the key to the continuation of any Riis and Saxo Bank's relationship.
"When I have something concrete to say then I'm going to say it," Riis told Cyclingnews. “We're working on it and of course I want him to stay in the team. This is what both parties want. Of course there's lots of speculation but I have good feeling."
Asked why Alberto Contador has not categorically stated he would sign for Riis, the Dane added: "There have been reasons for that. As far as I understand there are also the UCI rules that we have to follow on what we can do. Hopefully we'll have something soon but I'm looking around."
Riis went to say that Contador was the best rider he'd ever worked with, reaffirming his belief that despite his ban from cycling he believed that the Spaniard was innocent.