Formula One pilot visits the Giro d'Italia
Spanish Formula One pilot Fernando Alonso was a VIP guest at the Giro d’Italia during stage 18 and insisted that he still plans to create a major team for the 2015 season.
Alonso along with his technical manager and former double world champion Paolo Bettini rode in a VIP car during the stage and then Alonso presented race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with the pink jersey.
Bettini said he brought Alonso to the Giro d'Italia to show how the sport works and how different it is to the F1 race tracks and paddock area.
Alonso was heavily protected by race organizers RCS Sport but spoke about his plans for 2015. He kept his cards close to his chest and chose his words carefully. Despite reports that he has failed to sign Peter Sagan, alleged worries that Alonso's title sponsor from the United Arab Emirates may have doubts about backing the team because of the complex UCI WorldTour application process, and the radical overall of professional cycling expected for 2017, Alonso insisted his people are working on the project to be ready to debut in 2015.
"We're working on the team and the idea is still to do the team for 2015," Alonso confirmed, claiming that UCI rules mean the team is unable to talk to riders, despite no doubt knowing that Bettini has been in talks with numerous riders in the last six months.
"The rules say that until August 1 we can’t talk to riders and that you don’t get a licence until November. So for several months there won't be any news. It's not a problem for us but it seems to spark a lot of rumours and people want to know things but until November, we won’t know if we've passed all the official tests and presented all the things we need to present.
"We want to bring some of the technology and philosophy from Formula One to cycling but we want to do things professionally and respecting the sport of cycling. It's not our sport and so we've got a lot to learn to make any kind of revolution."
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport recently reported that doubts about the WorldTour licence procedure and a lack of guarantees for the sponsors had put plans for Team Alonso on hold, with a deadline to decide if the project goes ahead set for early June.
Alonso, smiled, avoided questions about deadlines and insisted that he is still working on the team.
"The idea is still the same: to create a team. There won’t be a lot of news but people needn't worry, we're working on it," he said before heading down the climb to catch a flight in Verona.
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