16 Aug 2009

Alberto Contador faces battle to leave Astana

6:02 pm on 16 August 2009

The Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has been warned he may have to fight if he is to be granted his wish of leaving top cycling team Astana.

The two-time yellow jersey winner is reported to be poring over offers from rival teams following a tumultuous three-week race in which much of the focus was on his in-team rivalry with Lance Armstrong.

Seven-time champion Armstrong has since announced he will ride next year for Team RadioShack, but Contador's wish to start anew could be stymied by the fact he still has a year left on his contract.

Astana said they want the 26-year-old Spanish ace, who appears on the verge of greatness having also won the Tour of Italy and Tour of Spain, to honour their deal until the end of 2010.

Team manager Johan Bruyneel, who led Armstrong to his seven Tour wins and was in charge of Contador for both his victories, is expected to follow Armstrong to RadioShack.