Contador free to leave Astana?

The AFP and other sources this evening are reporting that 2009 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador may be able to break his contract with Astana after the team failed to meet a key administrative deadline.  (Contador has one more year remaining with the team)  They cite Article of the UCI Cycling Regulations.  This became an issue when Astana was among 5 teams (Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel, Saxo Bank, Sky are the others) not on a list the UCI published today of teams that have met requirements for a ProTour license.  Note that the teams have until November 20 to meet these requirements.  But the rules appear to allow individual riders an out when team requirements are not met by October 20.

Article of the UCI Cycling Regulations:


ARTICLE 8 - Termination of the contract
Without prejudice to the legislation governing the present contract, it may be terminated before
expiry, in the following cases and on the following conditions:
1. The Rider may terminate the present contract, without notice nor liability for damages:
a) if the Employer is declared bankrupt or insolvent or goes into liquidation;
b) if the UCI ProTour licence for the team expires, is withdrawn, or if the UCI ProTeam is suspended
for a period of three months or more;
c) if the name of the UCI ProTeam or its principal partners is changed during the civil year
without the approval required under article 2.15.073 of the UCI cycling regulations;
d) if the Employer or a principal partner withdraws from the UCI ProTeam and the continuity
of the UCI ProTeam is not guaranteed or else if the UCI ProTeam announces its dissolution,
the winding up of its activities or its inability to meet its commitments; should this be
announced for a given date, the Rider shall continue to perform the contract until that date;
e) in the event of serious misconduct on the part of the Employer. Serious misconduct is considered
to include a failure to permit the Rider, despite his repeated requests, to participate
in competitions over a continuous period in excess of 6 weeks or over four discontinuous
periods of 7 days each, during which periods at least 1 one-day race on the international
calendar took place.
Where relevant, the Employer shall be required to prove that the Rider was not in a condition
to take part in a race.
f) if, on 20 October of the year preceding a year of registration covered
by the present contract, the UCI ProTeam has not submitted a registration
file containing the essential documents listed in art. 2.15.069bis.
(see below)


After the deadline of 20 October, the UCI – appointed auditor shall forward to the UCI
an opinion on the registration file submitted by the UCI ProTeam or by
the applicant for a licence. This opinion shall in particular indicate whether the
file contains the following essential documents: the budget, the sponsorship
contracts duly signed with the main partners, the bank guarantee, at least
12 contracts with riders duly signed by the two parties and, for the new teams
only, a description of the structure of the team together with a copy of the
deed of incorporation of the paying agent. The opinion given is purely formal in
nature and does not constitute a validation of the conformity of said documents
with the requirements of the applicable laws and regulations.
The UCI ProTeam or the licence applicant shall receive a copy of this opinion.
Following this opinion, the UCI shall indicate on its internet site which UCI
ProTeams or licence applicants have submitted a registration file containing the
essential documents.
The penalties for delay stipulated in this section likewise remain applicable.
(article introduced on 1.07.09).