Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel is set to take over at the Astana team in 2008 and will be joined by Tour de France winner Alberto Contador as team leader, Spanish media reported on Wednesday.
Bruyneel’s contract has not been signed as the Kazakh team have not yet officially terminated the contract of Swiss Marc Biver. “Marc Biver, directeur general of Astana Cycling Team, has not succeeded in reaching a satisfactory agreement with the Kazakh cycling federation with a view to modifications to the current Astana team,” the team said in a statement on Wednesday.
Biver had said that he favoured a radical overhaul of the team after they quit the Tour de France this summer after Kazakh star Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping.
Bruyneel, who has since 1999 led the US Postal team which later became Discovery Channel, failed to find a sponsor for next season despite winning eight of the last nine Tour de France races – seven consecutive from 1999-2005 with Lance Armstrong – and this year with Spaniard Contador.
Belgian Bruyneel had said last month that he had achieved all that he wanted to in the sport and that he intended to retire from professional cycling.
Spanish press also reported that American cyclist Levi Leipheimer, third in the 2006 Tour de France, was also considering a move to Astana.
© AFP 2007