Euskaltel manager regrets the demise of the Basque team
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has criticizes Formula One pilot Fernando Alonso after his failed attempt to take over the Euskaltel cycling team.
"I don't understand how someone who is willing to invest 17 to 20 million and wants to create a big project, has no idea how it works. He was ill-advised and remains very badly advised. I am looking forward to see if his new project sees the light next year," Gonzalez de Galdeano told AS.com.
Fernando Alonso announced in September that he planned to take over the Euskaltel cycling team and its World Tour license for 2014. however after extensive talks the plan collapsed and the Spanish formula 1 pilot now aims to launch a World Tour team in 2015.
'We were clear with Alonso. We presented our case clearly and have no fault in this. Alonso enters a world he knows nothing about. Cycling is not Formula 1. It is just as complicated as Formula 1, or even more so. He thought he could take money and do whatever he would like."
Gonzalez de Galdeano started his career with the Basque team before riding for ONCE. He joined the staff of Euskaltel after he retired as a rider in 2006 and took up the role of manager in 2009. In 2011 he left the team citing personal reasons but came back on-board for the new-look Euskaltel project in 2013.
The project included a new financing structure with Euskaltel taking over the WorldTour license. Separating from the Fundación Euskadi meant that the Basque team could hire foreign riders for the first time in its existence. The new start turned out to become Euskaltel's final year and painful demise after a lack of funding.
"I entered the lion's den when I shouldn't have. I should have picked someone who was from outside of the cycling world. That would have been better. I however did the job because it was irresistible but I suffered a lot. I did my master in labour-related disputes this year," Gonzalez de Galdeano said.
The signing of foreign riders like Alexandre Serebryakov and Tarik Chaoufi proved disastrous in a year where Euskaltel only managed to win four races and two national championships with Greek rider Tamouridis. Serebryakov tested positive and Chaoufi left the team suffering with homesickness.
"If you would ask me today if we should have signed foreigners, I say no. The project got a boost with the new philosophy but then results didn't come and the project was destroyed."
"I don't know who destroyed this project but it wasn't me. I was the scapegoat. If I would do it again? No, loco. I have lost a lot," the Basque team manager concluded.
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