Team Astana presented its lineup for the 2010 season last Saturday at the Hofburg Redoutensaal in Vienna, Austria, with two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador as the undeniable star of the show.
Contador, however, denied that he is the favorite to wear the yellow jersey for this year’s Tour de France, although he did admit that winning his third title of the said event is his main goal for this season.
The Spanish rider looked focused, happy, and physically fit for the season as he posed for photographs with his Astana teammates during the presentation. When asked about Lance Armstrong, his former teammate last season, Contador replied that the American rider is also one of the favorites, and will be a close rival. He seemed happy, though, that the Texan is no longer part of his squad.
Team Astana had a multi-talented squad of riders last year, with Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador in their lineup, plus Grand Tour stars Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloeden. The team had an outstanding 2009 Tour, but constantly had to juggle financial problems during the entire season, plus having to contend with the tension between their two stars, Armstrong and Contador.
This time, the team focus is solely on Contador. His Spanish and Kazakh teammates have publicly expressed their support for their star, saying that they are ready to back him up 100% in the Tour de France.
Contador is also expected to be pleased by the arrival of Giuseppi Martinelli as the new team director. Martinelli comes from “the Italian school”, as team manager Yvon Sanquier puts it, “where the team is united behind one single leader.”