Contador’s existing deal with Tinkoff-Saxo was due to expire at the end of this season, and speaking to the Spanish media last month, he intimated that he was likely to make a decision on his team for next season sooner rather than later.
“For me it was something very important. I knew I could not wait much more because if I had to choose another option it should have been done much in advance, in order to adequately prepare the team. We have been thoroughly assessing all aspects and in Tinkoff-Saxo we have a group that can fully guarantee the challenge of the Grand Tours,” Contador said in a statement released by the team on Tuesday.
“It is true that it was important for 2016 to have these guarantees and for that reason I am very happy to have closed the deal. It is already five years that I have been working with Bjarne Riis and the possibility to continue for another year is satisfying.”
Contador’s decision means that he is all but certain to finish his career with Tinkoff-Saxo, given that he recently stated that he does not plan to continue racing beyond the end of next season, when he will be 34.
Team owner Oleg Tinkov hailed Contador’s decision to extend his contract but expressed regret at his seemingly impending retirement.
“I'm very happy that Alberto will lead Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016 as well, because I truly believe he is the best cyclist in the world and I am convinced he will continue to be so for a few more years,” Tinkov said. “Unfortunately, he decided he would retire at the end of next year which means he will race with my team for two full seasons. I would have, obviously, preferred him to stay longer but that was his personal decision.”
Tinkoff-Saxo manager Bjarne Riis welcomed Contador’s agreement to extend their collaboration, stating that it was “the best decision that Alberto could have made.”
“I am, obviously, very happy Alberto extended his contract with Tinkoff-Saxo. Everybody knows I am a big fan of his and I look forward to working with him for another year,” Riis said. “It's also extremely important for the team to have as a leader a champion of his calibre.”
Contador's announcement came on the eve of Tirreno-Adriatico, a race he won last year. He will face Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) this year in something of a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France, although Chris Froome (Sky) was a late withdrawal, citing illness.
Contador is the lone member of that quartet who will line up at both the Giro d'Italia and Tour this year, as he bids to become the first man to record the Giro-Tour double since the late Marco Pantani in 1998.