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Haimar Zubeldia (Astana)
Basque Haimar Zubeldia will break Astana contract to move
Haimar Zubeldia will break his contract with Kazakh team Astana and ride for RadioShack in 2010, he told Spanish media yesterday. He received encouragement from sports director Johan Bruyneel, according to Marca.
"I will seek a release from the final year of my current contract with Astana in order to deal with RadioShack," Zubeldia told Marca. "Johan Bruyneel has told me that he counts on me for this new project."
Basque Zubeldia, 32, began two-year deal with Astana at the start of this season after nine years with home team Euskaltel-Euskadi. He signed with Astana in August 2008 – prior to Lance Armstrong's comeback announcement – and said that Bruyneel's involvement had been a key factor in his decision.
Bruyneel and Viatcheslav Ekimov have announced they are leaving Astana to join Armstrong's new RadioShack team. Levi Leipheimer confirmed last week that he signed a two-year contract, joining José Luis Rubiera and Sergio Paulinho in making the jump from Astana.
Zubeldia rode alongside both Armstrong and Leipheimer at this year's Tour de France. Astana dominated the race, Alberto Contador won the race and Armstrong finished third overall.
Zubeldia is currently focused on his own ambitions at the Vuelta a España. He began today's stage 11 ninth, 3:01 behind race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).
"The team's goal was to be on top at the Tour de France. We have come to the Vuelta with no pressure," said Zubeldia. "The Vuelta this year is a tough one and I'm taking it day-by-day."
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