Monday, September 16, 2013

Concerns raised over "delay" in Euskaltel takeover

The team of Fernando Alonso have expressed their concern over the time it is taking to reach an agreement with the current holders of Euskaltel Euskadi's WorldTour license.

Despite reports to the contrary, Alonso and his men are yet to actually purchase the license. According to a report in El Comercio on Sunday, negotiations are dragging on for two reasons.

The first and biggest issue appears to be the contracts of the Euskaltel staff. Alonso has confirmed that the deals of the 14 riders under contract will be respected next year, but the main sticking point is the contracts of the backroom staff: the mechanics, soigneurs, masseurs and sport directors.

Current General Manager at Euskaltel, Igor González de Galdeano, has repeatedly stressed the importance of saving the jobs of his current staff, but Alonso's men appear keen on bringing in new personnel.

It's believed mechanics Senén Pintado (Movistar) and Alejandro Torralbo (Saxo Tinkoff), as well as masseur 'Chopi' González (Astana), are all wanted at the new team - partly because they all hail from Asturias, Alonso and Samuel Sánchez's home region and likely headquarter of the new team.

The newspaper claims de Galdeano will not hinder a deal being reached if Alonso opts to not bring him into the new set-up, but, admirably, the former pro doesn't want to leave his staff on the street.

de Galdeano told the team's website that talks are proceeding "slower than expected", but that they still hope to reach a deal "in the next few days".

Kiko García, the former ONCE pro set to lead the new squad, told Cyclingnews' Alisdair Fotheringham that "the documents are all there, but the final agreement has not been signed".

"I don't doubt the huge goodwill on all sides, and I'm sure it will all be fine. And it's the same when you buy a car; you want to be really sure of everything.

"But the process is taking quite a while, a little more than I would like, above all because of the deadlines", García continued, referring to the UCI's 30th of September deadline - the day all WorldTour teams need to confirm their continuation into the coming season.

The second issue hindering negotiations is the tax laws in Spain.

Companies pay a substantial smaller tax in the Basque Country compared to Asturias and the rest of Spain, casting the moving of the team's headquarters out of Euskadi into doubt. This issue is not thought to be jeopardizing the team's future, though.

As pointed out by Cyclingnews, Catalan newspaper El Periodico claims a deal with a new main sponsor has already been reached.

The morning daily reports that Italian car manufacturer FIAT is set to be the team's main backer, but García refused to comment on what yet appears to be rumours and just that. García also refrained from commenting on reports that Cervélo are leading the race to become the team's bike supplier, as well as claims Chris Horner is set to sign for the team.

The recent Vuelta victor's contract with his current employer expires at the end of the year, and the American has not denied he's on the look-out for a team.

Photo: Sports Illustrated


Josh Buehner said...

Horner?! O god, no. Stay AWAY from that ticking time bomb.

Cervelo?!? Yuck. Even worse. Totally out of left field too, woulda thought it was between Orbea & Colnago.

Josh Buehner said...

Also, that tax situation is interesting. Never thought about that. There are plenty of perks to being/staying in the Basque Country; tax breaks, infrastructure, exposure. Keep your eye on that as a possible way to keep 'equipo Alonso' in Pais Vasco...

Movistar is moving there operation to Luxembourg for tax purposes.


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