Double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador says he is facing a crucial week for his future, in which he should - finally - resolve which team he will be racing for in 2010. And he dropped strong hints that Caisse d'Epargne is the most likely destination.
"It's increasingly probable, although it won't be straightforward" Contador said. "We could form a great team, the sponsor is well known and is interested in me."
"In any case, I'm taking things as relaxed a way as I can and we'll be studying all the options." The Spaniard has already met the Caisse d'Epargne sports director Eusebio Unzue twice to discuss a possible switch.
Although Quick Step, Garmin-Slipstream and Liquigas have all previously been rumoured as possible destinations, Contador has always said that he would prefer to ride for a Spanish team.
However, the option of remaining in Astana does not appear to be completely ruled out, either. In what Contador has described as a 'crucial week for my future', he will also meet the new Astana sports director Yvon Sanquer and representatives of the Kazakh Cycling Federation.
This week, his brother and agent Fran also plans to meet the Union Cycliste Iinternationale lawyers to discuss Contador's current contract with Astana.
Contador was speaking at a ceremony broadcast live on French TV, during which he received the prestigious Velo D'Or prize for the third time in his career. Britain's Mark Cavendish took second place, with Fabian Cancellara in third.
Contador also had time to look back on his Tour de France win this summer, where team-mate Lance Armstrong proved to be one of his toughest rivals.
"I've never been under such pressure as I was this July," he reflected. "But that made the final podium in Paris [with Contador first and Armstrong in third place] all the more special."
Alberto Contador: Rider Profile
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Cyber Monday bike deals live: computers, smartwatches, clothing, shoes and more!
Black Friday is done and now we're heading to Cyber Monday and we'll be on hand throughout the long weekend picking out the very best deals on cycling kit
By Stefan Abram • Published
This limited edition 'frozen' Colnago C64 with £550 off is literally the coolest thing in the Cyber Monday deals
But £550 barely scratches the surface when this beautiful bike costs £4,999 to start with...
By Simon Smythe • Published