Contador to leave Astana at end of 2010

July 28. AP. MADRID

Contador to leave Astana at end of 2010Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will leave Astana at the end of this season after the Spanish cyclist rejected the team’s offer to extend his contract.

Contador said Wednesday he will study his options before deciding which team to ride for next season.

“Alberto Contador has rejected the Astana team’s ultimatum, which had asked for an answer on its renewal offer on the upcoming seasons by Tuesday,” Contador said in a statement. “Alberto Contador will calmly study all of the possibilities on offers for the coming season, and he hasn’t dismissed any of them.”

Contador did not divulge the offers he was studying.

In three seasons with the Kazakhstan-based team, Contador has won two of his three Tour titles, a Giro d’Italia and Spanish Vuelta title.

Contador arrived at Astana alongside team boss Johan Bruyneel in 2008, on the heels of his first Tour victory with the Discovery Channel team.

But Tour organizers denied Astana a place in the race that year due to doping violations. Instead, Contador became only the fifth cyclist to win all three of cycling’s premier events with Giro and Vuelta triumphs—and the fastest to accomplish the feat.

Contador overcame the return of seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong with Astana last year to win cycling’s classic event for the second time before taking his third Tour title on Sunday.

But Astana struggled to pay wages last year, and Bruyneel left the team at the end of last season alongside Armstrong.