Basque telecommunications company Euskaltel has issued a statement confirming that negotiations with Fernando Alonso’s representatives have failed. The Formula 1 driver had been in talks with the company to become the new owner of one of the oldest teams in the international peloton.
“We can’t hide our disappointment about the final outcome of the negotiations,” Euskaltel said in a press release. “It’s bad news for Euskaltel and for the team following the agreement reached in principle at the end of August.”
According to the press release, the initial agreement signed between the two parties included a ‘route map’ – a list of points to be discussed – “which has not been completed.”
Euskaltel has “made an all-out effort to reach an agreement, with no type of economic pre-condition of any kind,” the release claims.
The statement concludes by saying that the team will now fold, as had been initially expected, at the end of the 2013 season, and that it regretted what it called “the appearance of inaccurate information [about the negotiations] which do not contribute to finding a solution or moving forward, rather the complete opposite.” However, it refused to reveal why the negotiations had failed to work out, saying that the confidentiality of the talks “has to be respected by us.”
Alonso’s would-be manager of the team, Kiko García, had told Cyclingnews on Monday morning that he was waiting for the Formula 1 star to return from the Singapore Grand Priz this afternoon before a final decision on whether to press on with negotiations, at a standstill for several weeks, was taken. However, Euskaltel have already decided to break off the talks.
The end of the discussion means that Euskaltel-Euskadi is folding and leaves Spain with just one ProTour cycling team, Movistar, and one Pro Continental squad, Caja Rural, its worst situation in terms of team sponsorship since the late 1970s.
At the same time, the sense that an enormous opportunity to turn the sport’s slow but relentless team sponsorship decline in Spain has been wasted, for whatever reason, cannot be avoided.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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