Madariaga plays down suggestion of Euskaltel exit

The Spanish Euskaltel-Euskadi team.

The Spanish Euskaltel-Euskadi team. (Image credit: Elmar Krings)

Miguel Madariaga has played down concerns that Euskaltel may withdraw from sponsoring the Basque team when their current deal runs out at the end of 2012. Responding to the suggestion made earlier this week by Euskaltel president José Antonio Ardanza that he viewed the continuation of his company’s backing of the cycling team as “difficult”, Madariaga, the president of the Fundación Euskadi that administers the team, said he expected Euskaltel to widen its commitment with the squad from 2013

Speaking at the Tour of Beijing, Madariaga commented: “I think that what Ardanza was referring to is that from 2013 onwards it will be the Euskaltel company itself that will take up the reins of this new project for many years to come. I think that that is more or less what they are trying to explain.”

Madariaga said that Euskaltel have been delighted with what is likely to be the team’s best season ever on the road, which has included stage wins at all three grand tours.

For his part, Ardanza admitted he was surprised by the fuss resulting from the comments he had made on Basque TV earlier this week and clarified Euskaltel’s position by affirming: “The team has a guaranteed sponsorship deal for two years, that is to say up to the end of 2012, but I don’t know what is going to happen in 2013. We still have to decide on that.”

Looking ahead to 2013, he added that Euskaltel will have to see “what the plan for the team is”. Acknowledging the success that the team has had in recent years, he alluded to concerns with the management of the Basque team following the recent and surprise resignation of Igor González de Galdeano from his position as team manager. Widely respected, González de Galdeano has reinvigorated the team in recent seasons and his departure leaves a big hole at the top of its hierarchy.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).