Tour winner Pereiro joins Astana
The confusion surrounding Oscar Pereiro's signing for Astana in 2010 finally ended this evening when it was announced by the team that the 2006 Tour winner would be racing alongside Alberto Contador in 2010.
Pereiro had announced the deal himself almost a month ago, but then almost as quickly the 32-year-old rider said that Astana had broken off contact and he was on the point of retiring. The team itself refused to comment.
The plot thickened further when the Spanish media published photos of Pereiro waving what he claimed was his Astana contract.
He also claimed that he had placed the matter in the hands of his lawyers and that if necessary he would claim the money from insisting that the UCI activate the banker's guarantee that Astana have to send for next year's riders wages.
Before this point could be reached, though, Astana have now confirmed that Pereiro will indeed be racing with them in 2010, and that he is currently en route to Pisa, Italy for the team's first training camp of the new season.
After four years with Caisse d'Epargne, Pereiro says he expects 2010 to be his last season, and the deal he has signed is for one year only.
The Spaniard won the 2006 Tour after American Floyd Landis was stripped of his title for a positive for testosterone. Since then Pereiro has not taken any more wins, although he did finish tenth in the 2007 Tour de France. In 2008, he crashed out of the Tour on a mountain stage, and in 2009 he abandoned half-way through the race's second stage through the Pyrenees.
"I know I can never win the Tour again," he told journalists a few weeks back, "but what better way to end my career than by helping Alberto Contador to win it a third time?"