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Óscar Pereiro admits that he probably won’t be racing next year.
After a possible deal with Astana fell through, it appears as the 2006 Tour de France champion will be without a squad in 2010.
Facing the unlikely option that a team will pick him up, Pereiro says it’s probably the end of the road for his sporting career.
“I am a realist and when I won the Tour in 2006, I knew that I wasn’t going to win another one because I don’t have the quality that Alberto (Contador) has to try to win various grand tours,” Pereiro told the Spanish daily, La Voz de Galicía. “I know this is the end for me, but I did all that I could in cycling. It’s not something that’s sad. I am relaxed. I dream of going out or starting a new life.”
Just weeks ago, it appeared that Pereiro was poised to join the Astana team and ride alongside Contador for the 2010 season.
According to Pereiro, his agent – ex-pro Angel Edo – had agreed on terms with new Astana manager, Yvon Sanquer, for a salary that was much lower than what he was earning at Caisse d’Epargne.
Pereiro agreed to the terms and signed off on the contract with an e-mail he exchanged with Sanquer. Pereiro also states that he was cleared following a review of details of his biological passport date received from the UCI.
“I didn’t hold a pistol to anyone’s head that they sign me,” he said. “They called me and told me they didn’t want to negotiate, that there was a quantity of money, and that I was interested, move forward. The offer was good considering that I had a bad year and to be at the sided of Alberto was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
But days later, Astana wanted to renegotiate terms of the contract for an even smaller amount, something Pereiro said he’s not willing to do.
Now the dispute is in the hands of his lawyers, who tell him that there still might be a solution. In the meantime, Pereiro cannot negotiate with another team until Jan. 1, 2010.
After an effort to join his “hometown” team of Xacobeo-Galicia fell through and now the latest roadblock with Astana, Pereiro admits it will be difficult to find a new team for the looming season.
Pereiro, 32, has hinted that he’d like to go into television as a broadcaster or presenter.
Pereiro went winless in 2009 and pulled out of the Tour in the first week and did not start the Vuelta a España.