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Euskaltel-Euskadi's Miguel Madariaga, left, and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano at the 2008 Tour de France.
Basque team breaks from tradition to secure future
Euskaltel - Euskadi team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has defended the outfit's decision to break with tradition and hire foreign riders for the first time in its near-two decade existence.
Gonzalez de Galdeano said that the team was simply following the "law of globalization" in an interview with El País.
"Or we would prefer, see Samuel [Sánchez ] in the Tour of Portugal instead of the Tour de France?" he suggests rhetorically.
Earlier this week, Euskaltel - Euskadi made the cut for the top 15 teams vying for UCI WorldTour status having found themselves on the wrong end of the sporting criteria scale in for the current season. The news that Euskaltel-Euskadi changed its hiring philosophy came last month when Amets Txurruka, one of the squad's domestiques, was let go because he had no WorldTour points. Txurruka was critical of this new stance, as Euskaltel had been a purely Basque team.
"With only Basque cyclists, even if we had all the professionals of the field, we would not have enough points," explained Gonzalez de Galdeano. "In addition, the riders we have signed are not as bad as they say."
There will be a squad of 29 riders for Euskaltel - Euskadi in 2013 with 20 Basques, an Andalucian and eight foreigners. Gonzalez de Galdeano argues that it's the Basque riders who hold the greatest responsibility in the team.
He continued by saying that the experience of Geox was a warning that unless WorldTour status was secured, neither could invitations to the Grand Tours.
"We had talked with the ASO, the organizers of the Tour," said Gonzalez de Galdeano. "And they gave us good words for if we did not reach the WorldTour, but did not guarantee anything."