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Euskaltel-Euskadi's future hinging on WorldTour

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Samuel Sanchez descended to the lead group on the Galibier

Samuel Sanchez descended to the lead group on the Galibier (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Euskaltel wating for the start.

Team Euskaltel wating for the start. (Image credit: Sonja Csury)

The UCI announced its final selections for the 2012 WorldTour today, including Euskaltel-Euskadi among 16 approved teams and two pending squads, RadioShack and GreenEdge. For the Spanish team, the news must come as a great relief as they attend their autumn camp in Derio.

Before the UCI's statement came out, Euskaltel-Euskadi general manager Miguel Madariaga told Diario Vasco that making the WorldTour was "very important" as it faces a difficult year when the contract of telecom company Euskaltel ends.

He estimated that the team had brought Euskaltel advertising value of "about 120 million Euros" over more than 80 countries topped by Spain, France and the USA.

Yet the relative bargain of supporting a cycling team hasn't kept companies like HTC involved in the sport, and the Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez knows the squad will have to work hard all year to earn its future.

"I hope this project will continue because it is a unique project in the world and the oldest in the WorldTour. It would be very sad for cycling if this project were to die," he told AS.

Sanchez said the best way to keep the team alive is to win races and have good performances, but his own training will not commence with the team's camp this week. He was with the team in street clothes, having recently undergone surgery for a calcification on his hip.

The Basque squad has 23 riders for the upcoming season, including Sanchez, Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve, Egoi Martínez, Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Rubén and Alan Pérez, Romain Sicard, Gorka and Ion Izagirre, Iván Velasco, Pablo Urtasun, Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Juanjo Oroz, Miguel Mínguez and Pierre Cazaux.