Cycling: Contador quits Astana over equipment failings

Less than three days after he celebrated a third Tour de France win Alberto Contador has declared that he will be parting company with his Kazakh team, Astana. Whilst disagreements over future salary contributed to Contador's abrupt announcement that he was leaving, a series of equipment disasters have been a contributory factor.

Contador's personal press office officially announced that the Spaniard and his team for the last three years would be going their separate ways but the statement left a door open to a last-minute agreement saying that he would "consider all options on the table", – including, presumably Astana. However, sources close to Contador told The Independent that there will be no such backtrack and that negotiations between the Spaniard and his current squad have ended for good.

The most spectacular equipment problem occurred when Contador's race radio broke after the first seven kilometres of the Tour's crucial 52km final time-trial stage which meant the Spaniard had no idea how he was time-wise compared to his rival Andy Schleck in an event decided by a few seconds.

A one-off radio breakdown happens to nearly every cycling team, but Contador's race radio has been failing in almost all the time-trials he has taken part in this season.

Astana were also incapable of getting their team car's television to work during the Tour. As a result when Schleck had a mechanical problem during a Pyrenean stage and Contador continued racing – an incident which generated a huge controversy – the team were unable to give him any exact information to Contador of what had happened to Schleck.

Contador was also said to have been dissatisfied with the pay rise to an annual €5m offered in his contract renewal, and after he ignored a deadline issued by the Kazakh squad for a definitive response set for two days after the Tour the writing was on the wall.

The separation is now so definite it is even uncertain that Contador will take part in any more races for Astana. A rumoured participation in September's Tour of Spain, which he won with the Kazakh squad in 2008, has now been ruled out and only a couple of exhibition races are on his schedule.

It is unclear who Contador will race for in 2011, but Bjarne Riis's team, set to lose Schleck to a new Luxemberg squad, looks like the most likely destination for the Tour winner. Sky have already said they have no interest in signing the Spaniard.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat