To fight against the “Armstrong effect,” which has given the Trek bicycle brand such an advantage, Specialized, its most direct competitor in the American market, has reached an agreement with Alberto Contador, No. 1 rider in the world. And so, wherever he rides—and Astana is still the most likely team—Contador will take Specialized bicycles in 2010.
MARCA/Josu Garai/Madrid/November 17 - Although it’s still not settled whether the UCI grants a ProTour license to the Astana team, neither Alberto Contador nor his brother Fran, who acts as his manager, are at a standstill. Quite the contrary. In fact, in the last few days they’ve been able to reach an agreement for using the American bicycles of Specialized in 2010, a brand which is also a technical sponsor to the Saxo Bank and Quick Step teams.
After the return of Armstrong to competition—something he did with Trek, the company with which he rode all the best years of his career—Specialized has had no better option than to fight back in order to keep from losing ground in the American and global market.
And nothing could be better suited to the purpose than to do it under the leadership of Alberto Contador, currently the best rider in the international peloton. Specialized, as everyone already knows, was ready to put forward a large sum of money in order for Quick Step to sign Contador, but after seeing that he might not be able to leave Astana, at least not before the end of 2010, the company has decided to go on the offensive and try to sponsor the Kazakh team.