Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Time's up for Basque Cycling News

With Euskaltel Euskadi folding and Equipo Euskadi looking ever likelier to follow suit, it's time this website it put to rest.

As has been the case with the deaths of the aforementioned teams, it's been coming for a while now.

It's been more than seven years since the very first post. "Iban to Saunier Duval?", dated October 3 2006, speculated where Ibán Mayo - once the founding reason for this website - would end up after his sorry breakup with Euskaltel had been confirmed. The sport, Ibán, Euskaltel, Basque cycling and this website have come a long way since then.

Most importantly and certainly most worryingly, the state of the sport in Euskadi - the true heart of Spanish cycling - has been declining ever since. The story of the heydays of Messrs. Indurain, Olano, Beloki, Zubeldia, Mayo et al. is well known and makes the stars of today look pale in comparison, but the lack of big-name riders only serves to hide the real issue.

The biggest problem concerns the lack of interest in the sport and the sad state of the cantera. The number of teams - and the possibilities for young hopefuls to make a living of riding their bikes with it - have been diminishing for the better part of a decade now, and the Basque junior and amateur scene, once the envy of the cycling world, is not what it once was.

That's not to say Basque cycling is dying. Far from it. Journalists in the modern day and age might be tempted to use words of the kind to satisfy the tabloid and at times unreasonable demands of the internet, but don't be fooled: they're more concerned with selling their product than necessarily reflecting the truth. In time, the sport will get back on its feet. The history, the traditions, the talent and - cheeky as it may sound - the love for a life on two wheels is still there. Those are qualities built up over numerous of decades and thus, almost by nature, impossible to lose just like that.

In cycling terminology, the wheels haven't come off Basque cycling. It's merely flatted.

To keep up the cycling jargon and thus hopefully succeeding in putting a less serious spin on what is otherwise an emotional message, this website has reached the end of the road.

With the disappearance of Euskaltel Euskadi and Equipo Euskadi, it was only natural to call it quits. The time consuming nature of keeping a site like this up to date makes it a welcome, if not exactly wanted, ending. With no orange jerseys in the peloton to distinguish the Basques from the rest, I could use the extra time at my hands to learn to recognize the erstwhile Euskaltel riders in their new jerseys come 2014.

A big eskerrik asko is due to my excellent providers of photos, to the riders and journalists who've readily been at my disposal, and to all of you who've loyally checked in to read my ramblings.

See you at the races.



hoerpi said...

I understood this would happen but it's really sad. Somewhere I hoped that you would continue to give news of the basque riders in different teams. I check the site daily.

Thank you for all your hard work and let us all dream about a new Basque team forming in the future.

Josh Buehner said...

I was hoping this day wouldn't come, but alas all good things must come to an end and with a whimper.

First off, a round of applause for Magnus! 7 years of dedication is really quite impressive especially for the little nitch of English-speaking basque cycling fanatics! I really hope to see you bring your talents one day to a top-notch website like cyclingnews or something.

It's weird. I've always distinguished myself as a sportsfan through cycling's Euskaltel-Euskadi. An exclusive club. Now I find myself lost. Without a team, a compass. Pro cycling's been in a year of transition for me. Haven't much cared for it. Only thing keeping me tied to it was the ever loyal boys in Orange.

But even more disheartening is a region and a country adrift at sea, unable to get back on track. They'll rise again, as will ciclismo vasco.

I look forward to seeing what our erstwhile Euskaltel boys do in the future. Hopefully Samu has something left in the tank, as with Igor. And Romain and Mikel Landa fulfill their potential. And Tamu finds a ride!

Eskerrik asko a todos.


kkdu said...

Now there is really no way back, the team disappears, the greatest news site for cycling disappears. But what makes me very thinking is the disappearance of the amateur team(s) in the basque country. Lets hope there will be the possibility for them to live again from what there are like to do at some point in the future.

Thanks for all the great work all the last years.

And personally I think I will now completely concentrate on Amets in the peleton.

Graham said...

I came to this site very late in the day. My love of all things Basque, with special focus on cycling, comes from 20+ years visiting Euskadi, and from the numerous friends I have there. Have enjoyed going back in time and reading some posts from the past seven years. Sorry to see it coming to an end, but 'chapeau' Magnus, for a fantastic site, brilliant comment, and great pics. All the best to you! Agur!

arnout said...

Yeah, I was afraid this day would come. To be honest, considering the performance of Euskaltel-Euskadi in the last year and a half were so dismal, maybe it is better that the talents of the team look elsewhere for better times. Sadly, and perhaps tellingly, many Euskaltel riders will not get this chance. It is the end of an era, but also the end of, frankly, an easy way in Pro Cycling for Basque talents that weren't really cut for the ProTour in the end. Maybe this was also part of the cause of the decline of the team and Basque cycling, a sense of mediocrity. Maybe the ashes of the team will provide fruitful ground for real focus on talent and development again, be it in Basque teams, be it elsewhere. Let's hope so.

Your blog was never mediocre. With colorful language and often information nowhere else available on (English) websites this was a must follow for anyone interested in Euskaltel and Basque cycling. The view count on the bottom of the page is a testimony to that.

I stumbled upon this blog looking for news on Iban Mayo, and have been visiting ever since. I will never forget the moment I read on your blog that Mayo's B-sample was negative or inconclusive, even though deep in my heart I knew his ban was a result of his actions (despite other riders doing the same thing). In the end, we knew he would not ride again, just like we know now Euskaltel will not ride again, and cycling will somehow never be the same again.

It has been an interesting ride, with many lows, but because of that the highs were really highs. Who doesn't remember that unexpected stage win of Izagirre in the Giro, or Anton beating all the favorites on the Zoncolan? A win for Euskaltel was never an easy win and that meant it was something to be cherished. Even wins could be cruel, in hindsight. For me, the 2010 Vuelta was the saddest moment in the existence of the team. Finally, Anton showed that he was not a talent anymore, but a great rider, on his way to win the Vuelta. A horrible crash put an end to those dreams and he has never reached that level since. Those moments as well as the great ones define Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Thanks for the great times Magnus, you deserve your rest. I will miss your blog.


Nick said...

Thanks for all your hard work Magnus!

Hanno said...

Well Magnus,

I have been following your blog since Iban's marvellous victory in the Giro 2007 and was really lucky to find such a great website by coincidence.

I've checked it almost daily for the past 6 years although I haven't been much of a talker in the comments during that time. However checking the blog became one of my daily routines.

I just wanted to thank you big time for your work which for sure was extremely time-consuming.

I wish you all the best for your future life and hopefully a new generation in basque cycling will rise someday.

Hanno from Germany

azanca02 said...

Magnus, Your work over the last 7 years has been incredible. This is one of the 1st websites I check in the morning and throughout the day. I will surely miss your updates as much as I will miss seeing the carrots in cycling. I wish you all the best of luck moving forward.

Thanks again and Gob Bless,

gasherbrum3 said...

Simply: THANK YOU, Magnus!!!

ka punkt said...

Thank you for your great work in the last seven years. I know I will miss your blog, like I will miss the bleeding carrots in the peloton.
Good luck to you.

K. from Germany

Franck said...

Thank you Magnus, really.

N said...

Sad times for Basque cycling.

Thanks for your great work, Magnus! I wish you well.

Holden Caulfield said...

Euskal Herrian ere pena handia izango da web orrialde honen desagertzea. Ez dut uste orrialde onenik zegoenik hemengo txirrindularitza jarraitzeko. Zure azken hitzek itxaropen ematen dit. Ea egun batean proiektu berri bat hasteko aukera izango duzun. Egin duzun lana galanta izan da ta!

Writing from the Basque Country I need say that here as well it makes me really sad to know that this website comes to an end. I don't think there were a better website to keep track of basque cycling. However I saw hope in those last words that you wrote to say goodbye. I cross my fingers that in a near future you'll have reasons to start a new project. You've done such a great job!

Zorionak / Congratulations!

onclebunny26 said...

my favourite cycling related page comes to an end. i'm gonna miss euskaltel and your blog!
Mayo and Zubeldia were the reason i started loving cycling. But one of my favourite moments was aitor gonzalez winning my ''home tour' in 2005 in an epic mountain stage :)
Well there are so many good memories. I'm planning to expand my Euskaltel year videos on youtube so we'll never forget them.
Thank you magnus for those great years!!!

Wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Magnus, for all your hard work & the fantastic insights into Basque cycling. I shall miss this blog & our beloved Carrots.

David from the UK

Anonymous said...

It's a sad day and a sad story. I would like to thank you for your great work informing us on Euskatel. I will miss this site almost as much as the team. Again many thanks. Now I only hope Anton and especially Samu will join Contador and have a some great years still to come!!!

Gordon said...

Two words: thank you. You've made following this team an incredible experience. All good things have to come to an end. All the very best for the future you deserve it.

Egen said...

As some others, I have never written a comment here (as far as I remember) despite having followed the site since the beginning and read most of your articles.
Your blog took a major role in how I experienced pro cycling and I had completely forgotten (and was surprised to read) that it did not exist in the glory days of 2003 and early 2004. It feels like it has been around forever.
Even in the time you didnt update your blog, I checked it regularly - as I am sure a lot of others did (at least arnout, azanca02 and bolsen3, regarding to the comments of your last entry in 2008:)) - and I still remember how i felt when there finally was a new entry.

Anyhow, although it is sad, you probably cannot run this blog forever and now seems about the right time to quit. Hopefully you gained a lot yourself from writing this. At least you can see how much you grew as a writer over time (of course you were already good in the beginning...).
Thanks for all your work!

If somebody finds an euskaltel tribute video and the page is still up for some time, i would of course be really glad about the link.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled apon this site a few years ago and have been visiting it ever since. Not hailing from the Basque Country, your site was the easiest and best way to follow Basque Cycling. Not only Euskaltel-Euskadi, but also Orbea/Euskadi and the lower teams. It gave me everything I needed to know.

Since 2001, when Laiseka won a stage in le Tour de France, I have been a fan of Euskaltel. Ofcourse, I liked almost every rider, but since 2006, Antón has been my favourite. He has given me many moments I won't forget. Calar Alto. Later Valdepeñas de Jaén, Andorra Pal and unfortunately, the crash. After that Zoncolan and last but not least... Bilbao! A historic win.

His last two years have been disappointing, but, well... I guess every rider has been disappointing. Almost every rider is riding under his level. This will change for some riders, next season, that'll be the only good thing. But... do I want to see Landa win races at Astana? Or Nieve at Sky? Do I want to see Samuel Sanchez wearing blue instead of orange? No, not really. It's a shame that riders like Azanza and Astarloza will retire a few years early.

One good thing, I hope, is that Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano will be leaving cycling. I think he is mainly at fault for the team declining every year and the folding of the team. One thing I still don't understand is why they didn't take a step down to Pro Continental level. The last year really has been a farce, with riders like Serebryakov and Chaoufi. Or the Germans. But still, I loved the team.

I'm not looking forward to cycling in 2014. I will miss Euskaltel-Euskadi. But, I was looking forward to following this blog, hoping that I would be able to follow the Basque riders and see if there is going to be a new team, ever.

Guess I'll have to learn Spanish (or Euskara) now. Anyway, thanks for doing this for seven years! It will be missed, like Euskaltel will be missed.

racejunkie said...


Thank you so much for many years of great work. English-language sites on Euskaltel and the great tradition of Basque cycling have been almost non-existent, and you've admirably filled the gap. In my own very small way I've tried to keep people updated on these great riders--often with info from your site!--and I hope despite Euskaltel folding Basque cycling come back and continue to grow. In the meantime, I'm sure whatever passion you decide to pursue next, you'll do it with great success--best wishes in all your future endeavors, and keep following cycling!

Anonymous said...

Hi Magnus. I'm on the point of tears. I'm so sad about all this. Sick of hearing about football whilst all this is going on.
I hope that the riders get some contracts. It seems some have. I really hope the rest do and all those mechanics and the rest...
I came to this site late on I'm afraid but have really enjoyed reading stuff every day. I'm aware that it was you who did all the work and can't imagine how much time and effort it took..I can only say thank you my friend.
Wishing you too all the best and hopefully you will in another incarnation keep us updated with news and stuff..
You have won a Yellow jersey for what you have done..!! Bless you...

laurencear said...

eskerrik asko, Magnus

my love of the Euskadi riders came from seeing that orange jersey in the peloton, back when they had a wild card. Prendas Ciclismo in the UK were the only people stocking the kit... i bought the jersey and my obsession started.

i often sport an EE hat in colder weather and have sparked up interesting conversations with Basques and cycling fans in odd locations around Europe. nothing says cycling more than the orange of Euskaltel Euskadi.

my love of Euskadi has grown, people now think i am basque!

I don't think there will ever be a team such as Euskaltel Euskadi. it stood for more than cycling, it was an appreciation of the underdog, a love of a way of life.

Agur Euskaltel Euskadi. the influence of this team cannot be measured.

in august the streets of London were closed so people could cycle. i saw a young boy riding in an orange top, as i got close i saw it was an Euskaltel one. i passed and called 'gora gora' to him... i heard his shout of "Euskaltel" as i rode away.

Viva Euskadi. Eskerrik asko from a londoner who has never been to Euskadi, but will do soon... to visit my adopted homeland.


Trond said...

A word of thanks from the old man. Well done, lad!

Anonymous said...

Sincere thanks for all the effort put into making this blog day in & day out.

Following cycling without the iconic orange jersey in the peloton simply won't carry the same emotions for me.

I hope that the riders, the team's staff and their families will find the strength to endure through this difficult time.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for all the work and effort over the seven years. I like so many other followers looked at this site each one of us for a different reason. Mine was the love of the ORBEA bike and then followed naturally Euskaltel Euskadi. It is a sad time I have lost my site and my team - I hope I do not lose ORBEA to the World tour series.
Once again Many Many Thanks for all the very professionally written articles over the years.
Jim Short. Peterborough England.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea!
At the end, as thanks to Magnus, everyone to write:
1.from which country and city are we(would be interesting to see what countries are those who have loved, love and will love The Carrots)
2. When we discovered this site
3. What brought us here (Euskaltel, Igor, Samu, Iban, Orbea, .......)
4. How will be in 2014 to see Samu, Igor, Mikel, ..... in other equipment
Thank you!

And now:

1. Romania, Bucharest
2. I am a big, big, big fan of Samuel and Orbea
3. 2010
4. ...?? Sky, ...!! Astana...?? Saxo...!! Movistar... I do not know! I hope I will survive!
And thanks Magnus! For me you were and are like a member of Euskaltel! Thank you!

Holden Caulfield said...

1. Barakaldo, Biscay, Basque Country
2. Can´t remember when. Only thing I can remember was that I just came across this website while looking for news on an already retired Iban Mayo.
3. I kept visiting the website because the information and the writing was of good quality and because it was the easiest way to know more about Basque amateur cycling.
4. 2014'll be weird. Very weird. Don't think I'll be supporting any time, at least with the same passion. Maybe the guys at Caja Rural and we'll see if it finally comes true and the Basque Federation launches the new basque team in the Pro Continental category. Don't see it happening. And don't see Madariaga making a new miracle. But who knows. I'll keep supporting any rider. No Flecha on the peloton, but we still have Jens Voigt!

Vegard said...

Having followed both this blog and the team since 2006, it's with a heavy heart I now see that both are disappearing (with the team(s) closure, your resignation here was of course inevitable..)

Thanks for everything Magnus you orange God!

Kristof said...

Well yes, it's the end... Thanks Magnus for all those hours of joy! To me the end of euskaltel is the end of an era. Luck we still have the memories!

dave fisher said...

thank you, Magnus, for your years of dedication. i will miss the Euskatel team very much, and i will miss your website as well.
may you always ride with the wind at your back.

Anonymous said...

Been following this blog ever since the start, me being at first a big Iban Mayo-fan, later on a Basque cycling-fanatic. Thanks so much for the blog, Magnus!

Holden Caulfield said...

I invite you to visit this blog: Or you just type crónica deportiva sentimental in google or any other search engine. You'll find an interview that I've done to Magnus so that he could say goodbye to this wonderful website that we all will miss.
Thanks to Magnus and congratulations, again, for his great job.

Josh Buehner said...

Equipo Euskadi saved!

Franck said...

Come back soon Magnus!

Anonymous said...

Standing ovations, Magnus!


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?

Anonymous said...

I think it is a good joke

Anonymous said...

This, however, is not a joke

i miss my Euskaltel, more and more and more

Back again said...

The Euskadi Team is back again, with a continental class team.

Seven riders plus one next week: Carlos Barbero, Jon Larrinaga, Haritz Orbe, Mikel Aristi, Illart Zubiskar,Victor Etxeberria and Beñat Txoperena.

Back again said...

To follow the Euskadi Team

Web page only in Basque and Spanish.

To financially support the team (become a partner)

Anonymous said...

Igor Anton has signed with Movistar

Anonymous said...

great news!

Josh Buehner said...

Samu rolls for BMC. it'll be weird to see him in another colour, but I can't wait to see what he has to offer this season.


Anonymous said...

From orange / black to red / black is not a very big difference. Or is it?
anyway BMC is better than ...... Tinkoff or Astana or any other team.
It is much more decent!
Now I have a reason to continue to watch the cycling!
Well done SAMU and GOOD LUCK!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting what happens
The new TEAM EUSKADI is a copy of the old Team Euskadi.
They did not want to engage in Euskaltel but established a new team EUSKADI.
In general the same management as the old EUSKADI (same bike and the same policy) but without Igor González de Galdeano.
I bet in a few years we'll see them in Pro Tour and World Tour.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Team Euskadi is a good reason for us to continue.

Anonymous said...

well done Mikel !
We are still alive!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for all your excellent research and reports over the years on all things Euska!
All the best for your future, and the future of Basque riders

Take care

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