Monday, September 02, 2013

Alonso steps in to save Euskaltel Euskadi














Euskaltel Euskadi have confirmed rumours that Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso has decided to purchase the team's license and take over the team.

Alonso, who's an avid cycling fan and no bad rider himself, was last week successful in convincing his personal sponsors to come up with the six million euro needed to by the license from the team's holding company Basque Cycling Pro Team. Rumours only surfaced about a deal being reached between the two parties early on Monday morning, but only a few hours later both Alonso and the team had confirmed the deal.

The rumour going the rounds this weekend was actually that Catalan banking group Sabadell was ready to step in to save the team, but in the end it turns out that the Formula 1 celebrity will be the owner for the next few years.

For how many, though, has not been disclosed.

Alonso hails from the Asturias region in northern Spain and will run the team from Samuel Sánchez's home region. Alonso is of course a long-time friend of the Euskaltel rider - as well as of Alberto Contador. 'Samu' and Alonso are known to be occasional training partners, and the latter has for several years flirted with the idea of running his own team.

BiciCiclismo claim Igor González de Galdeano is likely to lead the team in much the same way he's done at Euskaltel Euskadi, and the team will as usual be based around Sánchez, Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve and the Izagirre brothers. All 14 riders with contracts in place for next year will reportedly form part of the 'new' team.

As of now, there's been no word on whether the riders with contracts expiring this year will stay on or not. Nor has a name for the team been released. Telephone company Euskaltel will not fund the team in any way.

"Enthusiasm, seriousness, sacrifice, evolution and transparency are the words on which this team will build its foundations", Alonso's press release reads. "Alonso is thrilled to be forming an active part in cycling and to be able to improve the image of this sport. Transparency and zero tolerance will therefore be fundamental pillars on which the foundations will be laid for this exciting sports project.

"After various days of intense negotiations between both parties, carried out with maximum discretion, we are pleased to announce that the Spanish athlete has reached an initial agreement to buy Euskaltel Euskadi and so avoid its demise".

More on this subject as news come through

Photo: The Guardian

11 comments:

Stephen said...

Christ almighty!

I really can't stanf F1 but as of this moment I'm in the Alonso fan club.

Can't wait to see how this will work out in practice....

Josh Buehner said...

Crap. IGGy is still going to lead the team...

Some thoughts after the initial shock wore off:
*Samu's setting himself up to be a Vino-like DS in a few years.
*If Santander is going to be the main 'title' sponsor, surely they'll want a Cantabrian. Cobo? Could Friere come on board as an adviser,a s was rumored last year?
*I always thought something was up seeing as how NONE of Euskaltel's riders have put their names to any contracts since the announcement of termination. Lots of rumors, sure. And of course the riders have to prepare for the worst, but no one signed anything. Curious as to how long the negotiations were going on.
*How about bringing on Joseba Beloki too? Sign Flecha & bring back Zubes!
*No more Orbea bikes? That would be a shame.

I'm a tad bittersweet. Thrilled that the team and staff will continue, but disappointed that the Basque influence will be rather miniscule. It's a real indictment of the sport, the country of Spain, and most certainly Pais Vasco that a super-wealthy sportsmen has to come in and save the team when no other company could. Embarrassing

This team could potentially have a rather large budget with Red Bull coming into the sport and that's great news for cycling development for 'North Spain'. Asturias and Cantabria have nothing for cycling infrastructure. We know some talent comes from there. So that's good. Ultimately, I'd love for this team to have itself grounded in the North. With Cantabria, Galicia, Pais Vasco, and of course Asturias represented. i wish we could keep the ikurrina on the kit somewhere :(

Whatever comes of this, la Fundacion needs to do everything it can to save Equipo Euskadi and keep that pro-conti development team. It is absolutely crucial for the future of Basque Cycling.

Finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room-talent. Let's be honest, for various reasons we've been scraping by and not developing-i.e Landa, Sicard, Anton. Ion is our brightest hope for the future. We've milked all we can out of Samu unfortunately. Nieve is great, but he'll never be more than a consistent top-10 GC guy (much like consistent Zubeldia) plus he's surprisingly 30 years old! Maybe this new fresh team will bring out the best in those guys. So that's why I'm not thrilled about keeping IGGy. We also need to keep Lobato. And Tamu, cuz he's awesome! Plus, he can time-trial.

Lot's of stuff to chew on. I'm delighted to see the new developments as they come.

Josh Buehner said...

Crap. IGGy is still going to lead the team...

Some thoughts after the initial shock wore off:
*Samu's setting himself up to be a Vino-like DS in a few years.
*If Santander is going to be the main 'title' sponsor, surely they'll want a Cantabrian. Cobo? Could Friere come on board as an adviser,a s was rumored last year?
*I always thought something was up seeing as how NONE of Euskaltel's riders have put their names to any contracts since the announcement of termination. Lots of rumors, sure. And of course the riders have to prepare for the worst, but no one signed anything. Curious as to how long the negotiations were going on.
*How about bringing on Joseba Beloki too? Sign Flecha & bring back Zubes!
*No more Orbea bikes? That would be a shame.

I'm a tad bittersweet. Thrilled that the team and staff will continue, but disappointed that the Basque influence will be rather miniscule. It's a real indictment of the sport, the country of Spain, and most certainly Pais Vasco that a super-wealthy sportsmen has to come in and save the team when no other company could. Embarrassing

This team could potentially have a rather large budget with Red Bull coming into the sport and that's great news for cycling development for 'North Spain'. Asturias and Cantabria have nothing for cycling infrastructure. We know some talent comes from there. So that's good. Ultimately, I'd love for this team to have itself grounded in the North. With Cantabria, Galicia, Pais Vasco, and of course Asturias represented. i wish we could keep the ikurrina on the kit somewhere :(

Whatever comes of this, la Fundacion needs to do everything it can to save Equipo Euskadi and keep that pro-conti development team. It is absolutely crucial for the future of Basque Cycling.

Finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room-talent. Let's be honest, for various reasons we've been scraping by and not developing-i.e Landa, Sicard, Anton. Ion is our brightest hope for the future. We've milked all we can out of Samu unfortunately. Nieve is great, but he'll never be more than a consistent top-10 GC guy (much like consistent Zubeldia) plus he's surprisingly 30 years old! Maybe this new fresh team will bring out the best in those guys. So that's why I'm not thrilled about keeping IGGy. We also need to keep Lobato. And Tamu, cuz he's awesome! Plus, he can time-trial.

Lot's of stuff to chew on. I'm delighted to see the new developments as they come.

Josh Buehner said...

Oh, one more thing. Imagine Ferrari's as team cars and Alonso as the bus driver!!!

K.V.Sebastian said...

This is great news!
Big thanks to Alonso for keeping the team alive :=)

Opening a bottle of wine to celebrate :)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic news about the team although tinged with a little sadness as surely the Basque element won't feature strongly.

Very pleased for the riders who'll at least have the certainty of retaining their contracts already in place. As Josh has said, the focus now needs to be on attracting talent that can really compete at the highest level.

Thanks & respect to Senor alonso.

Anonymous said...

Why will they not be riding ORBEA bikes.

Josh Buehner said...

They might still be. That would be great. But, Alonso & Ferrari have a strong Colnago connection....Plus there is MMR, an Asturian bike manufacturer. I don't know if they're up to snuff tho.

There is Always (Vittoria-Gasteiz) BH too. Xacobeo Galicia used to ride both Orbea & BH.

There is always Specialized too :)

racejunkie said...

Very grateful he rescued the team but hope that whatever it's called and wherever it's located (would love if it stayed at its current base) it keeps its unique character for as long as possible. The riders sound happy and they'd certainly know better than I would so I am trying not to worry!

Stephen said...

How many more years has Contador got with Saxo?

arnout said...

Imagine Ferrari as team doctor :P

In all seriousness, awesome news.

 

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