Pereiro, Astana OK one-year deal

Updated: December 9, 2009, 8:06 AM ET
Associated Press

MADRID -- Former Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro has agreed to a one-year deal to ride for Astana in 2010.

The Spanish cyclist will join the Kazakh team's training camp in Pisa, Italy, on Thursday, where he will be united with defending Tour champion Alberto Contador.

Pereiro, who won the 2006 Tour after Floyd Landis was stripped of the title due to a positive doping test, said Wednesday that if the deal hadn't gone through, his only other option was retirement.

"There was some misunderstanding between all the parties," Pereiro told The Associated Press. "Yesterday they called and said they would go through with it."

But the agreement nearly didn't happen because Astana attempted to renegotiate the terms of the contract one month after signing.

"There was no explanation. They didn't say anything," the 32-year-old Pereiro said. "I'm sorry for what happened, but let's move forward without any bad feelings. It was all a little strange but now I think everything will be fine."

Pereiro hasn't been the same cyclist since retiring from the 2008 Tour with injuries sustained after going over a guardrail during the 15th stage. He believes he has finally recovered from that accident and will be an asset to Alberto Contador, who is looking to defend his Tour title.

"After that fall I was out for four months and I was nervous on my return," Pereiro said. "Physically and mentally I was not fit. But I think this change of teams will bring extra motivation. I think it will be a good thing for me and for the team. I just didn't have much luck."

Pereiro believed signing with a contender would give him a chance at victory, too, but left no doubt that he would not be looking to stir up any controversy within the team a year after Lance Armstrong's arrival, which created problems with Contador.

"This team is built around Alberto and it's a great team," the former Caisse D'Epargne rider said. "My only objective is to help the team. I want to start again from zero."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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