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Contador Signs Deal with Specialized, Will Likely Remain At Astana

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Gazzetta dello Sport reports today that Alberto Contador will remain with Team Astana for the coming season. The Spanish two-time Tour winner also signed a deal with Specialized. The American company will furnish bikes for Contador and pay him 700,000 euro for the privilege. Contador signed the deal in Madrid at the main offices of the Specalized importer in Spain, and the contract runs one year with an option to renew. Gazzetta suggests that a deal between Astana and Specialized, who also provides bikes to Quick Step and Saxo Bank, is in the works, but is not yet complete. It is possible that Contador and his team-mates could ride different equipment during the coming season, if Astana and Specialized do not come to terms.

On Friday, the UCI is expected to confirm the pro tour license for Astana. According to Gazzetta, Contador is already thinking of future seasons, and though the Italian paper does not name its sources, Gazzetta appears quite convinced that it is a done deal between Contador and Astana. To buy out his existing contract, Contador would need to pay Astana 2 million euros, a requirement reportedly not changed by the team's license status. Gazzetta also dusts off the Ivan Basso to Astana rumor and suggests that Contador is planning to bring the Italian to the team in 2011. There is reportedly a close friendship between the riders (who knew?), and their representatives have already been in contact about a possible transfer.

But all that is for the future. At last we may have come to the end of the ridiculously drawn-out negotiations over Contador's future. He will ride for Astana on Specialized bikes. The end?

— Source, Gazzetta dello Sport.