Alberto Contador may yet opt to stay with the Astana team for one more year but, if he does leave, Caisse d’Epargne are one of the teams most likely to secure his signature. Their current top rider Alejandro Valverde has made it clear that his compatriot would be welcome, even if that would impact on his own Tour de France goals.
“As I have said in the past, it would really be great if Alberto could join the team. There is a place for him, and I’ve no problem with that,” he told Cyclingnews. “He knows he is really welcome. The key point is if this will be possible; the situation seems rather complicated.”
Contador has one more year left on his current contract and made it clear in recent months that he would like to leave. The double Tour de France winner has had approaches from several teams, including Caisse d’Epargne, Garmin Slipstream, Quick Step and Liquigas. He appeared to have found a way out when Astana didn’t meet the October 20th deadline for submission of registration documents, as under these circumstances the UCI has a rule releasing riders of their obligations.
However this week Contador said that the situation remained complicated and indicated that he could end up remaining where he was.
Last month, Valverde won his first Grand Tour when he triumphed in the Vuelta a España. He made it clear then that the Tour de France is his next objective. Having Contador on the team would undoubtedly complicate that aim but, even so, he underlines that he’d be glad to see him in Caisse d’Epargne colours.
“Before talking about that [leadership in the Tour] we have to wait and see how things unfold,” he said. “But anyway. I believe his presence in the team would be great. I respect him a lot. He has already won two Tours de France, and I still have to win my first one.”
In the case that Valverde would end up riding for Contador in July, he said that his personal targets would be the Classics and the Vuelta.
Before then, he will need to ensure that he is actually able to race in 2010. He is facing two hearings in the coming weeks with the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS), relating to alleged links with Operación Puerto.
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