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The flag of the Basque country.
Basque project continues after demise of Euskaltel
The Fundación Euskadi has aligned with the Amorebieta-based business organisation, "the ner group", to revive its cycling program with a single Continental-level development team, the ner group announced today.
The partnership ensures that a Basque team will be present in the peloton in 2014, albeit not at the sport's top tier. The Basque project began 20 years ago with the creation of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, and has included a development team sponsored by Orbea in recent years, but the WorldTour team came to an end after government funds dried up and the team failed to find additional sponsors. A partnership with Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso to save the team also fell through, leaving riders and staff scrambling for new contracts.
The partnership with the ner group ensures that the development program will continue.
"One of the main objectives of ner group is to achieve human development, just and sustainable. Within these objectives precisely fits the philosophy of Euskadi Foundation," the press release stated. "This new venture and looking to the future, [to] support the promotion, development, dissemination and development of Basque sport of cycling, where thousands of young people have a place."
The group will apply for a license with the Spanish federation, according to Biciciclismo.com, and has called for other Basque businesses to support the project.
It has hired Jon Odriozola, a former Euskaltel-Euskadi and Orbea development team directeur sportif as the director of the team. It also thanked Miguel Madariaga, the Basque Federation and the people who have worked in Basque cycling to develop the sport over the years.