The news of Euskaltel Euskadi disbanding at the end of the current season has naturally triggered quite a few reactions from riders, fans and experts alike.
One of the team's standout riders this year, young sprinter Juan José Lobato, simply posted the following three words on his Twitter account:
"And now what..."
Team-mate Ricardo García also took to the social media network to air his frustration.
"A mixture of sadness and anger... We'll die fighting, knowing we've given it our all", he wrote.
Team Belkin rider Stef Clement, not a Basque of course, is not looking forward to riding in the Pyrenees with no orange-clad riders around him.
"Euskaltel quits cycling: big loss on the long term, big loss on the short. Not looking forward to hit the mountains with ANGRY orange men".
Former Euskaltel stalwart Iván Velasco was forced to leave the team for Caja Rural ahead of the 2013 season. While he was quite angry at the time, it's probably nothing he regrets right now. Still, though, the amiable Velasco feels for his friends and erstwhile team-mates.
"It's a real shame what happened to Euskaltel", he writes on Twitter. "A big hug goes out to all my friends over there. And, more than anything, thank you so much for those years!".
Euskaltel legend and Velasco's team-mate, Amets Txurruka, also extended his sympathies.
"Today broke the news we didn't want to hear! A big hug to all my friends. In addition to Euskaltel being a very popular sports team, 50 families and the youth also lose out... #Unbelievable"
Joseba Beloki might not have risen to Grand Tour fame in the colours of Euskaltel, but the 39-year-old from Lazcano, Gipuzkoa - one of Lance Armstrong's fiercest competitors at the turn of the century - spent his first couple of years as a professional on the team.
According to the former climber, Euskaltel will be sorely missed.
"It's a hard hit for the future of the sport", EsCiclismo reports him as saying. "It's a loss for the whole of cycling. They'll leave a big hole in the peloton, and it hurts the young and hopeful riders too".
Roberto Laiseka, a true Euskaltel legend if there ever was one, was everything but pleased, but felt the team management could have played their cards better.
"Everything's got a start and an end, but to end it like this is not good", he told EsCiclismo. "It's been an unusual year, what with the signing of the foreign riders.
"It wasn't very well handled", he says of the team hiring non-Basques to get into the WorldTour. "They already knew the public institutions would cut back on their support", he claims, "and they got into economic difficulty after only three months".
Julián Gorospe, former Euskaltel team director and a two-time Vuelta al País Vasco victor, echoed Laiseka's sentiments, claiming he'd "never have changed the team's philosophy".
With the team now going, Gorospe fears the future of Basque cycling hangs by a thread.
"All Basque fans and riders look up to Euskaltel", he told Efe. "It'll affect our sport a lot. It's a big shame. This team has given so many riders the possibility to ride professionally and would have continued to do so".
Photo: Iñaki Azanza