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Contador sticks with Astana in 2010

Contador enjoyed Tour de France glory with Astana earlier this year.
Contador enjoyed Tour de France glory with Astana earlier this year.
  • Alberto Contador signs preliminary agreement with Astana for 2010
  • Two-time Tour de France champion linked with several teams for next season
  • Contador will stay with Astana as long as it maintains ProTour license

(CNN) -- Tour de France champion Alberto Contador looks set to stay with Astana next year after reaching a preliminary agreement with the Kazakh-based squad.

Contador is contracted to Astana until the end of 2010, but has been linked with a number of teams since claiming his second Tour de France triumph back in July.

But a statement on his official Web site said he will stick with Astana as long as the team retains its ProTour license and strict internal doping controls are maintained.

But the 26-year-old Spaniard, who is the hottest property in cycling after winning all of its three major tours, was at pains to impress that "the contract to be signed will be for one year only," reserving the option to leave at the end of next year.

The contract to be signed will be for one year only
--Alberto Contador

Despite its success last season, with Contador and the returning Lance Armstrong occupying two of the three podium places in the Tour de France, Astana were rumored to be in financial difficulties, casting doubts over its future.

Armstrong's departure to the new RadioShack team increased the speculation, but Astana has brought in a new management team of Yvon Sanquer, with Giuseppe Martinelli as sporting director to reassure the team leader.

The pair had "ensured the reliability and competitiveness of Astana's new project, since they have managed to gather, despite the short time span, a group of high-quality riders," read the statement.

Contador is set to resume his rivalry with seven-time Tour champion Armstrong next year and has been handed the added boost of a route suited to his climbing abilities with several tough stages in the Pyrenees and few time trials.