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“I don’t plan to not continue with Riis. I have signed for this year and next. Ignore what is said or written out there," Contador tells Marca

Photo: Sirotti




01.12.2013 @ 18:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

According to Laz Gazzetta dello Sport, tomorrow will be the day when Oleg Tinkov confirms that he has bought Team Saxo-Tinkoff team from owner Bjarne Riis, with the Dane continuing in a team management role. Given the strained relationship between the Russian and the team's major star, Alberto Contador, one could wonder what this means for the Spaniard's future but the multiple grand tour winner has made it clear that he plans to stay on the team in both 2014 and 2015.


It is no secret that the relationship between Oleg Tinkov and Alberto Contador could have been better. At the start of this year's Tour de France, the Russian was sure that the Spanish star on Team Saxo-Tinkoff of which he was a main sponsor, was going to win the world's biggest bike race but those predictions turned out to be far off the mark.


Contador finished 4th and Tinkov did nothing to hide his disappointment. He wrote a number of tweets to criticize his Spanish star, claiming that Contador was not training enough and was overpaid.


The strained relationship was one of the reasons for Tinkov's and the team's decision to part ways. However, time heals all wounds and tomorrow Tinkov is likely to announce that he has bought the Danish team from Bjarne Riis for 6 million euros.


This has prompted many to doubt whether Contador will stay on the team. The Spaniard has a contract for the next two seasons and has made it clear that he intends to stay where he is, claiming that Bjarne Riis is the best manager he has ever had. However, it is logical to ask the question whether a new Russian owner has prompted him to change his mind.


In recent days, Tinkov has tried to calm things down by stating that Riis is one of the best managers in the world and that Contador is still a genuine Tour contender. Apparently, the relationship has now improved so much that Contador plans to continue on his team despite Tinkov's likely ownership.


“I don’t plan to not continue with Riis. I have signed for this year and next,” he told Marca. “Ignore what is said or written out there.”

When F1 star and Contador's close friend Fernando Alonso was trying to take over the Euskaltel license, Contador was rumoured to be joining the new team. The negotiations ultimately broke down but Alonso still plans to set up a team for the 2015 season.


While Contador acknowledges that he may ride for the new team in the future, he rules it out for the coming two years.


“Fernando Alonso’s project is interest and somehow is something that motivates me as well," he said. "Teams need to be formed and you never know what will happen. But I have a contract and I don’t plan anything else. 

“It would be good that the project goes ahead. And then, after some time, everything could happen.”

Contador admitted that he had spoken with Alonso of late.


“We met casually, but nothing more," he said. "We agree that he feels admiration for cycling and for cars and speed. That's it."

Contador will turn 31 in December and so is now close to the age where stage racers usually peak. However, he has seen himself being on the decline since he returned from suspension for a positive clenbuterol test in August 2012 and is no longer the dominant rider he once was.


However, he still sees himself continuing as a professional rider for many years.


“We are all ageing and in the distance I can see a time when I will have to leave it [cycling],” he said. “It will be when I can’t reach the level that I want to, when I can see that I can no longer meet the targets. You should get off the bike then. But I see that as being a long way away.”


In 2014, Contador will target the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana but plans to hit peak form for a number of select stage races in the spring. He will start his season in the Volta ao Algarve in February.



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