Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Euskaltel make their case

Euskaltel appeared before the UCI's Licence Commission in Lausanne yesterday to answer questions concerning their WorldTour-licence bid for 2012. Miguel Madariaga was accompanied by outgoing team chief Igor González de Galdeano and Orbea representative Joseba Arizaga, and the Fundación Euskadi supremo was cautiously optimistic when speaking to the press earlier today.

"I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but I do think we'll obtain the licence", was his rather strange comment according to GARA. "The meeting lasted for approximately 20 minutes, and we answered questions regarding the economic and sporting aspects of the team as well as the future of team post 2012. But I can't really draw any conclusions. We defended our candidature, but I can't say if we did it well or not. What I can say, though, is that we did better than in years past. They didn't tell us if we would be awarded a licence though, they'll inform us on Monday".

Intriguingly, the UCI are reported to have asked the team representatives about whether they'll stay true to their philosophy of only recruiting riders from the Basque Country. The answer was, mildly put, interesting.

"I told them that we'd go with any philosophy they would want us to go with. And I also told them it's no big surprise we couldn't finish inside the top 15 of their rankings with 15 young Basques on the team."

This doesn't suggest Euskaltel will "open" the team to foreign riders - not in the near future anyway - but it does confirm that Madariaga is no stranger to the idea. He's expressed similar views in the past, but at least there's no reports of the UCI requiring a change in philosophy.

Check back on Monday to learn whether Euskaltel will stay WorldTour or go Pro Conti next year.

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