Euskaltel Euskadi bowed out of professional cycling on Tuesday in a discreet, yet honourable manner, at the Tour of Beijing.
Garikoitz Bravo successfully defended his tenth place on general classification, meaning the team had something to celebrate on what was otherwise a sad day for everyone connected with the team.
"This is like someone dying", sports director Álvaro González de Galdeano told www.esciclismo.com. "We'll only realize later on that the team is actually gone, and we'll remember the team fondly. We know it's all over now, but we're yet to really grasp it".
Speaking to the team's website upon the stage's conclusion, de Galdeano was pleased with how his charges ended 20 years of cycling history.
"We're pleased with the result - we got into the top ten. We put our faith in Garikoitz and it payed off. He even finished second in the young riders' classification.
"We finished this with the feeling of having done a good job".
By securing his best result in a WorldTour race in his young career, Bravo also bettered the team's performance last year that saw Iván Velasco and Samuel Sánchez coming in 11th and 12th respectively.
As de Galdeano put it, it was most certainly a most "dignified" way to bow out.
- (1, Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano), 2:26:56)
- 23, Garikoitz Bravo, s.t.
- 48, Mikel Landa, s.t.
- 105, Ricardo García, 0:44
- 106, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
- 107, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
Final general classification:
- (1, Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), 19:35:46)
- 10, Garikoitz Bravo, 0:31
- 36, Juan José Oroz, 2:43
- 43, Mikel Landa, 3:58
- 51, Ricardo García, 6:20
- 131, Mikel Astarloza, 34:42