Lampre-Merida team manager Giuseppe Saronni told Gazzetta dello Sport that he had made Contador with a view to signing him for next season.
“We’ve already had some contact with Alberto Contador. Who wouldn’t be interested in such a rider?” Saronni told the Italian daily. “It won’t be easy but we can at least try.”
Contador had initially indicated that he could retire at the end of this season but following his overall victory at last month’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco he said that he would “put the idea of leaving cycling to one side.”
He is riding his sixth year with the Tinkoff team after moving to the squad for the 2011 season. With Tinkoff’s main sponsor and owner Oleg Tinkov set to leave the sport, Contador could be forced to look elsewhere if he hopes to ride in 2017.
With a relatively young team, if Contador was to move to Lampre-Merida he would have little competition for leadership at the Grand Tours. Contador is one of the few active riders that has won all three Grand Tours. However, his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia were scrubbed from the record following his positive test for Clenbuterol in 2010. Lampre-Merida will likely find some tough competition for Contador’s services, however. The Spaniard could stay put if Tinkoff manager Stefano Feltrin finds a new sponsor, while Trek-Segafredo could also be a potential destination for him after they gave up on signing Vincenzo Nibali.
After aiming for the Giro-Tour double last season, Contador is targeting just the Tour de France this year. Contador hasn’t raced since winning the Volta ao Algarve at the start of April and is not set to ride until the Criterium du Dauphine next month.