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F1 star Fernando Alonso to take over Euskaltel

By:
Jose Been & Peter Cossins
Published:
September 2, 2013, 11:11,
Updated:
September 2, 2013, 13:14
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 2, 2013
An Euskaltel rider signs autographs

An Euskaltel rider signs autographs

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Samuel Sánchez to lead team that will have a new name and base in Asturias

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has confirmed reports that have appeared in the Spanish press this morning saying that Ferrari’s Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso has reached an agreement to take over the team. In a press release, the Basque squad said that negotiations have been ongoing for some time and are set to be concluded today (Monday).

According to El Periodico, Alonso and his sponsors bought the WorldTour license for 6 million Euro and plan to build a team around Samuel Sanchez. The Beijing Olympic Champion is one of the 14 riders on the 28-rider roster who have a contract for the next season. In the case of Sanchez he also has a contract with the team for 2015.

The new Euskaltel team will be based in the Asturias region, where Alonso himself is from. It will focus on regional riders too, next to the big names from Euskaltel like Samuel Sanchez, Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve and the Izaguirre brothers.

Euskaltel announced that it wouldn’t be able to contribute to the team in 2014, even though the Basque telecommunications company planned on a multiple year sponsorship. The Basque team relies on funds from Euskaltel as well as the regional government and other institutions. Due to the economic crisis in Spain the budgets for sport sponsorships have faded.

Taking over the Euskaltel WorldTour license supposedly costs around six million Euros, a figure Alonso’s sponsors will pay. Alonso has been an avid cycling supporter and bike rider himself for years. He is also close friends with Alberto Contador.

Alonso press release

In his own press release, Alonso has confirmed that he is in negotiations with the team for the purchase of their WorldTour licence and that the riders who have contracts with the squad’s owners, Basque Pro Cycling Team, for 2014 and 2015 will be respected.

A huge fan of the sport who appeared alongside Eddy Merckx at the Tour star in Monaco in 2009, Alonso’s involvement with cycling is far from new. In 2009, he wanted to set up a team with Alberto Contador, his close friend, but the squad failed to materialise after the Spanish Tour star had to stay with Astana for a further season.

“Last year I was very close to creating a team with Contador," Alonso said in a 2010 interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

In another interview with The Guardian in 2010, Alonso did not rule out the creation of a new cycling team, saying “It's a project for me – a kind of dream I have because I love cycling. Creating a top team and being in a position to win the Tour de France will give me a nice feeling.” Now, though, he looks set to buy one already in existence.

Alonso is a training partner of 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez during the winter in Asturias, and their home region is an area with strong cycling roots. Apart from producing cycling legends like 1970s climber Jose Manuel Fuente, the region has had several top teams, including Clas-Cajastur in the early 1990s, as well as the Vuelta a Asturias race, although that has recently fallen on hard times, it remains an important race on Spain’s cycling calendar. Asturias also has the Lagos de Covadonga climb and this Vuelta will finish the Naranco climb, one of the most emblematic of the country and host to the Subida a Naranco, a one-day race, for many years, and the climactic showdown will also come in Asturias, on the Angliru.

 

 

ycpjoh More than 1 year ago
Pleased that the team won't be disappearing - I hope they keep the bright orange kit in some form. But the current riders have been underperforming in my view. Sanchez is past it, while Anton, Izaguirre and Intxausti are no more than decent squad riders. Nieve maybe has potential. Maybe it's also a team organisation issue. Anyway, I hope to see them do better.
shadowblue More than 1 year ago
you do know that Intxausti has been riding for Movistar the past two years, right?
jozzaCH More than 1 year ago
Gorka Iziguirre Intxausti i think he means
Luis Vivanco More than 1 year ago
Unlikely about the orange. It's the corporate colour of Euskaltel, the current sponsor. Some guesses: It's have some light blue, just like the Asturian flag, it will ride on Colnago, just like Alonso (Colnago has a Ferrari bike, and Alonso is seen ryding Colnago - ahtough he also has an Orbea TT bike). Long shot: Contador will sign with it.
Broth3r More than 1 year ago
Wow. THAT I did not expect.
ailsab More than 1 year ago
Totally unexpected but brings excitement with it. Will be good for the sport I feel sure, will gather more interest particularly for that team. It would be great to see them do really well but they will need some wholesale changes. The name will be of interest, cant wait for more on all these and hope he signs some great cyclists.
Julian Duquemin More than 1 year ago
That's good news for the team riders.
mikedel More than 1 year ago
Nice development to the Cycling world.... Hope that whatever sponsor they may have the ORANGE COLOR shall remain!
Jesus from Cancun More than 1 year ago
Assuming that Santander Bank is behind this, it will more likely be RED
Beech Mtn More than 1 year ago
Why should they keep orange? It's only the color of the phone company that is no longer sponsoring them. Has nothing to do with the Fundacion Euskadi, as far as I know.
Baptiste Vanhelmont More than 1 year ago
The background of the Basque flag is orange, which is probably why Euskatel's color is orange. But yes, if Banco Santander finances them they should wear their color.
Txapeldun More than 1 year ago
No. the ikurrina is red, green, and white. the first few years of Equipo Euskadi, the ikurrina was represented in their kit. Come 1997 when the telecom Euskaltel joined (whose logo is orange) they adopted the color.
boombastic More than 1 year ago
great news indeed.
FabiquesAnquetillara More than 1 year ago
HUGE!!! Respect for Fernando! It is almost like miracle. Not closing, not some odd russian money with big strings attached, but back-up from honest person, who made his money honest way. And he is from Spain too. In current economic climate in Spain, this is not like a miracle. This is miracle! Wow, that is great news and again respect and thanks to Alonso.
boombastic More than 1 year ago
yup. great news indeed :)
Luke Morris More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Good lad. A great way of spending all the money he's earned - putting it into something he loves that will give something to all the fans and support those riders. Brilliant.
Michael Daddow More than 1 year ago
Awesome. Hopefully new management will introduce stricter, more scientific training so these Euskatel boys can actually time and peak their form. Cause when they do, they are very hard to stop in the mountains.
rider1000 More than 1 year ago
Here's to hoping their team cars are Ferrari!
Jesus from Cancun More than 1 year ago
I never thought of a Ferrari FF with roof racks, but that would be the coolest team car ever
timwaagh More than 1 year ago
how about their docters?
ailsab More than 1 year ago
hee hee! well said
montani3semper More than 1 year ago
Sile$Tone!