(2006 Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro, slated to be a super-domestique who would bring both capability and panache to the re-forming Astana team, called a press conference today in Galicia to update the public on the current situation involving his contract.)
Oscar Pereiro acknowledges that he feels close to retiring from cycling
Vigo, December 4 – EFE – The winner of the 2006 Tour de France, Oscar Pererio, announced today in a press conference called for the purpose of reporting a breach of contract by Astana, with whom he had made a commitment last November 12, that it was “very likely” that he would retire from professional cycling.
“The most likely thing is that this would be my goodbye. I’m a very realistic person, so that’s what I think. My representatives are trying to find a way out and are speaking with teams, but right now it’s very difficult because I’ve got a signed contract in force on January 1.
“I couldn’t sign with another club, either, because there would be duplicity of contract, before doing that I would have to break with Astana.”
“I’m fine, calm. If I retire I’ll begin a new life.”
“For the last four months I’d already had it in my mind that this was my last season, although the truth is that the Astana option had givem me back my enthusiasm,” added the cyclist from Galicia.
During his media appearance, the ex-Caisse d’Eparge rider told about how events had transpired since he commited to Astana on November 12.
“On the day following the benefit race that I organized, the directeur sportif of Astana—Giuseppe Martinelli—called to tell me that they had received everything on the part of the UCI and that the medical team had already evaluated the biological passport and that everything was fine,” explained Pereiro.
“From that point, I started to observe a distancing between the two parties because I had no news from them. Then, after several days of uncertainty, Astana’s manager—the Frenchman Yvon Sanquer—called me to see if we could re-negotiate the contract and I told him no, because he had already reduced it by a third,” continued the cyclist.
In addtion, Pererio also revealed that Yvon Sanquer called him again later to communicate that he was getting “a lot of pressure” to break the contract, which is why it would be impossible to pay the amount for which he had signed.
“They told me that they couldn’t meet the budget and that they had rushed to sign me at this price. I tell them that they understand me and that I’m not going to reduce the amount, competing in a foreign country with everything new. My salary was going to be three or four times less that what I got at Caisse d’Epargne.”
“This was Friday of last week. They told me that they were under pressure and that they wouldn’t be able to go forward with the contract. So, I warned them that I had put the matter into the hands of my attorneys, who told me that it was quite defensible because there are numerous facts that demonstrate that there’s an agreement between the two parties,” he added.
Finally, Pereiro made it clear that he will go “the full distance” in this case in order to defend his contract, which is why if Astana, to which he already sent the information yesterday, doesn’t reverse gear in five days, he will end up reporting the team.