With Alberto Contador expected to make a decision on where he will ride in 2010 within the next fortnight, Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has denied reports that his Belgian team have made a contract offer to the rider worth up to 20 million euro.
Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport had reported that Quick Step had presented Contador's representatives with a four-year contract worth 5 million euro per year. Lefevere today acknowledged that the team has made an offer to the two-time Tour de France winner, but said the contract value that had been suggested was an exaggeration.
"We have made an offer, [Contador] knows how much and we will see," he told Cyclingnews. "I don't talk about money. Some people are speaking about numbers that everyone knows are ridiculous."
Lefevere had earlier told Belgian website Sporza that Quick Step's bicycle sponsor, Specialized would be prepared to contribute funds to secure Contador's services, but said "The money we have offered Contador also comes from the team budget."
The speculation over the value of Quick Step's offer to Contador comes a day after reports that the Spaniard had been offered up to 8 million euro per season to remain with Astana. Contador's brother and manager, Fran Contador, today denied that offer had been made and said that if he does remain with Astana, it will not be on a long term contract.
International Cycling Union's (UCI) licence commission are expected to make a decision on Astana's ProTour status on November 20. If the Kazakh team's ProTour licence is withdrawn, Contador will be free to accept offers from rival teams.
Lefevere told Cyclingnews that with Quick Step's offer on the table, the team is at the mercy of decisions from the UCl's licence commission and Contador himself. "Obviously it's the rider who decides where he goes and when. He will [probably have to] wait until the 20th of November; the second deadline for Astana to have the [ProTour] licence," he said. "Sooner would be better."
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