3-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador signs 2-year contract with Saxo Bank team

By Richard Steed, AP
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tour winner Contador signs with Saxo Bank team

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will race for the Saxo Bank-SunGard team next season.

Team manager Bjarne Riis said Tuesday that the Spanish rider signed for two years. Contador, who said last week he would leave the Astana team at the end of the season and study his options, confirmed the announcement on his website.

“I think I’ve chosen the best option and I have confidence in Riis to build a great team in 2011,” Contador said. “I’m eager to start this new adventure together with a team and sponsors who have placed their trust in me and I want to show that they have not made a mistake.”

Contador gives the team a new leader after Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and his brother Frank announced last week they would leave the team.

Riis, who declined to disclose the financial details of the deal, said he believed Contador could improve as a rider.

“Alberto is a world class rider and it’s with great pride I can present him as a member of the team for the next two years,” the Dane said. “I believe we have not seen his full potential yet.”

“Contador is always in the game to win and I respect that and like his ambition to win the three great tours in one year,” Riis said.

He also announced that Saxo Bank would remain a co-sponsor of the team next year. The online investment bank had previously said it would end its support at the end of 2010.

“Bjarne Riis has delivered excellent results over the past couple of years and has an impressive plan for 2011,” Saxo Bank co-founders Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen said. “We believe it’s important to recognize an unprecedented opportunity when you see one and therefore, we have decided to continue our sponsorship for one more year.”

SunGard, an IT services company based in Wayne, Pa., had previously agreed to co-sponsor the team next year.

Contador said support of the team sponsors “has also been decisive in choosing this proposal.”

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