Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will continue riding for Astana in 2010, the Kazakh-funded team said yesterday.

Contador's brother and agent, Fran, had said last month the rider turned down an offer to extend his contract with Astana and wanted to leave the team.

Contador's current contract runs until the end of next year.

"In order to clarify some misunderstandings reported in the media, the Astana cycling team management reconfirms that 2009 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is expected to ride for Team Astana in 2010," the team said in a statement.

The 26-year-old, who also won the Tour in 2007, endured a difficult relationship with American team-mate Lance Armstrong in this year's race. Armstrong has already said he would quit Astana to form a US-based team next year.

Astana said in the statement that Contador was definitely part of their plans for next year and was going nowhere.

"Our sponsors are keen to continue with the team at least till the end of 2013," Rinus Wagtmans, spokesman for the Kazakh authorities backing the team, said in the statement.

"It is clear that Alberto Contador will be our absolute leader of the team for next season.

"We are surprised to read that many other teams have reportedly shown their intention to engage our Tour winner when he remains under contract," he added.

"A transfer is not negotiable and we will honour the signed contract."

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