Kiko Garcia has expressed concern that the process of negotiating the switch of ownership of the Euskaltel-Euskadi squad for 2014 - when it will be taken over by Fernando Alonso, the Formula One champion - is not proceeding as quickly as he would like.
“The documents are all there, but the final agreement has not been signed," Garcia, who is widely expected to take the role of team manager, told Cylingnews.
“I don’t doubt the huge goodwill on all sides, and I’m sure it will all be fine. And it’s the same when you buy a car; you want to be really sure of everything.”
“But the process is taking quite a while, a little more than I would like, above all because of the deadlines” - with September 30th the first deadline for ProTour teams to confirm their continuation into 2014.
García refused to comment on a lengthy article in Catalan newspaper El Periodico which claimed that a sponsor deal has already been reached, with car manufacturers FIAT, that Vuelta winner Chris Horner had been contacted about a contract for 2014 and that Cervélo were in the running to provide the squad with bikes. El Periodico also claimed that Jose Luis Rubiera, an Asturian ex-pro, would be the team’s new director.
“I can’t comment about any of that because it would be disrespectful both to Fernando Alonso and to the team’s current sponsors, Euskaltel-Euskadi. I’m not going to start discussing those questions when first we have to resolve the question of the agreement [to buy the team’s ProTour licence] itself,” Garcia told Cyclingnews.
As for Euskaltel-Euskadi, the Basque team did not win any stages in their last Grand Tour in their current format, but they clinched the teams prize and celebrated their farewell victory in style, by going up onto the podium with not just the sports directors, but all the back-up staff as well - and a huge Basque flag, a tribute to the team’s roots in Spain's main cycling heartland.