Alberto Contador and Team Astana seem to be moving closer to a deal for the 2010 season. The two-time Tour de France winner has reportedly signed a US$1 million contract to ride Specialized bikes in the coming season, and it appears that the Kazak team will follow suit.
In addition, there are indications that Contador may stay with the team for more than one additional year, with Ivan Basso rumoured to be on his way to the team too.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Contador signed a contract for 700,000 Euros to ride Specialized bikes. However, despite it being an individual deal, they indicate that the team will also sign, having used Trek bikes this year. Specialized provides bikes to Quick Step and Saxo Bank.
Yet Contador's future at the team is still far from certain, with Astana still without a ProTour licence for 2010. The International Cycling Union (UCI) is expected to announce its decision on the team's licence this coming Friday. However Fran Contador, Alberto’s brother and manager has said Contador could stay with the team for longer than one year.
In another twist in what's been one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas of the year, La Gazzetta dello Sport also state that Contador is working on bringing Basso to the team. Basso, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and served a two-year doping-related suspension for his involvement with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, is under contract to Liquigas for the 2010 season. His team rides Cannondale, another American brand. Basso would be available to join Contador at Astana in 2011.