Former Tour winner Contador will stay with Astana team

Other News Materials 18 October 2008 21:49 (UTC +04:00)

Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador said Saturday he has no problem with former team-mate Alexander Vinokurov returning to professional cycling and also confirmed that he would stay with the Astana team, reports dpa.

The 35-year-old Vinokurov, who has completed a one-year doping ban, is planing a comeback in the Astana team, but it remains to be seen whether the sport's controlling body UCI will accept the Kazakh cyclist's registration.

After testing positive last year, he announced his retirement and that is one of the reasons why UCI accepted the lenient punishment issued by the Kazakhstan cycling federation.

"He has served his punishment. If he returns he would be like all other cyclists who are new to our team. I have always had a good relationship with him," the 2008 Vuelta winner said.

Cantador who won the Tour de France in 2007 and is expected to be one of the favourites next year, will be racing in the same Astana team as seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who is also staging a come-back.

Tour organizers have said that they have no problems with allowing Astana to race in next year's Tour, even though doping accusations have been levelled against Contador and Armstrong.

Contador also confirmed that he would fulfill his contract with Astana, but described the situation with Armstrong as a delicate one. The two cyclists will meet during a training camp in California in January 2009 and Contador said they would then discuss everything.