November 23, 2009 – Alberto Contador has conditionally signed on for another season with Team Astana reports the New York Times and Sky Sports. The winner of the 2009 TdF was openly critical of his team but the deal – rumoured to cost Astana a record $12 million USD – brought the 26-year-old Spaniard back into the fold.
The deal is also conditional on Astana keeping its ProTour licence, among other things. The financially-troubled Kazakhstan-based team is believed to have paid Contador some $2 million in 2009 although it is also rumoured to have missed paying its riders some months earlier in the year.
Contador also indicated to the Italian media that he is pleased Frenchman Yvon Sanquer has replaced Jonathan Bruyneel – a close ally of his former teammate and rival, Lance Armstrong – as manager of Astana while Giuseppe Martinelli has taken over as directeur sportif. Both Bruyneel and Armstrong recently left Astana for the new US-based Radioshack team.
Meanwhile, Contador told the Italian press that he was forced to go out and purchase his own wheels prior to the 2009 TdF prologue reports AFP and also on Contador’s site http://www.albertocontadornotebook.info/. The wheels provided by his team apparently were of inferior quality, forcing Contador to duck into a Monaco bike shop to buy the right stuff. AFP wonders what the reaction was among store personnel to see such a cycling legend purchasing his own equipment.
Read the full New York Times article here.
Read the full Sky Sports article here.