Alberto Contador should find out today whether he will be riding for Astana in 2010 or taking up one of the offers he's been made by Caisse d'Epargne, Garmin or Quick Step. His future depends on the decision that the International Cycling Union's (UCI) licensing commission reaches over Astana's ProTour status. If the Kazakh team is not authorized to remain in the ProTour, Contador will have the opportunity he needs to opt out of his contract and consider offers from other teams.
The Spaniard will receive the news in Mexico, where he is enjoying a few days of rest of after winning Saturday's Gran Premio criterium in Cancún. After that event, he told Mexican newspaper La Verdad that he has no idea which way the verdict on Astana will go.
"The UCI will announce its decision about Astana on Monday and will decide, I suppose, if it's a solvent and serious team," said Contador. "If they are favourable [to Astana's request] a team will have to be put together, a competitive team, based around me and focused on the Tour… It would have been better to start building a team in August and September, but that's the way things are. I am confident they can put a good team together."
With former Festina manager Yvon Sanquer lined up as the successor to Johan Bruyneel as team boss and Marco Pantani's former directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli set to take on the same role at Astana, talk has started about possible rider signings. Fuji's David De La Fuente is being heavily linked with a move to the team, while Spanish daily AS claims Spanish road champion Rubén Plaza and Ceramica Flaminia's Giampaolo Caruso are in Astana's sights. The team is also reported to have a new sponsor in Samruk Kazyna, the Kazakh national welfare fund.
With his eyes very much on next year's Tour, Contador was asked whether he regarded Lance Armstrong as his main rival, replying: "Armstrong will be one of my rivals. There are many of them at his level."
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