Alberto Contador is close to closing a deal that would keep him at Astana for “two or three years.”
That’s according to an interview with Contador’s brother, Fran, with the Spanish web site Biciciclismo.com.
“We’ve had a meeting with the sponsors and all that remains are a few details and I don’t think there will be any problems,” said Fran Contador, who acts as his younger brother’s manager. “The length of the contract is still not settled, but it will be a minimum of two years. It’s something we have to resolve, but it will be for two or three years.”
If true, the deal would cement Contador’s future and give the two-time Tour champion more stability as he moves into the best years of his career.
Contador has struggled to find a secure home base to build a team around him. His tenure at ONCE/Liberty Seguros was cut short by the Operación Puerto scandal in 2006 when the team’s title sponsor exited following the salacious headlines.
A move to Discovery Channel and then to Astana proved fruitful in terms of sporting achievement, but was dogged by instability within the team structure. Discovery Channel left the sport following his breakout 2007 Tour victory before Astana was kept out of the 2008 Tour, a decision that opened the door for Contador win the Giro and Vuelta that season.
Last year saw the return of Lance Armstrong to Astana and the pair’s season racing together was rife with controversy and division.
Contador didn’t confirm his decision to stay with Astana until very late in 2009, but Fran Contador said the team was more than cooperative in meeting Contador’s demands to sign certain riders and staff.
Contador also said his younger brother doesn’t want to join another team and build everything from scratch once again. Joining Contador at Astana are several riders and staff that he would insist on bringing to another team.
“The sponsors are very interested in continuing with this project and making the best team possible around Alberto,” Fran Contador said. “This year, despite all the inconveniences and that everything was settled late, they pulled together a good team, one that can even get better.”
Efforts to build a dream team with Spanish Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, who visited Contador at last year’s Tour start in Monaco, never got off the ground.