Russian billionaire to create a "completely different team"
Rumours have been circulating recently about Oleg Tinkov providing a last minute reprieve for Euskaltel Euskadi, the financially struggling Spanish team. As reported by Spanish newspaper Deia, these rumours may have an element of truth to them as both parties have recently held talks over the future of the team. It has been stated rather succinctly by the Spanish paper that Tinkov presents the team's "only chance of survival".
Euskaltel is a struggling Basque telecommunications company that is blaming the financial crisis within the company for failing to provide the requisite money for the team's continuation. The company has provided the two to three million Euros required of them for this season, but the agreed seven to nine million for the coming three years is now out of the question.
Tinkov's lawyer, Stefano Feltrin, remarked on Sunday that Tinkov is currently assessing several different business options, one of which is a possible bankrolling of the Euskaltel team. Tinkov is reserving judgment as to his possible involvement until he visits the team during the first week of the upcoming Vuelta a España.
If Tinkov goes ahead with purchasing the team's license he will undergo a complete gutting of the team's roster and its infrastructure. It's been reported that his intentions are to create a "completely different team" that has "nothing to do with the current one".
He would go about this by uprooting the team from its Basque base and moving all operations to Tuscany, Italy. He then plans to retain some of the current staff and only a few of the current "interesting" riders. Thus it appears that riders who have recently been told that they need to look for new homes may need to do so anyhow, whether the new sponsorship arrangement comes through or not.
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