Fernando Alonso to Save Cycling Team Euskaltel-Euskadi

September 2, 2013

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso has stepped in to save cash strapped Spanish cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi from dissolving at the end of the season, sponsors said on Monday. 

The Spanish double world champion was set to purchase the WorldTour licence to enable the team to continue racing in 2014, Euskaltel said in a statement. 

“Euskaltel and Fernando Alonso reached a tentative agreement that guarantees a new cycling team for the future,” a press release from Euskaltel Euskadi confirmed, “Over the next few weeks, negotiations that have been ongoing between the parties will be finalised, culminating in Alonso’s acquisition of the company owning the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team. It’s great news for cycling, since the entrance of a world-class sporting figure like Fernando Alonso brings a new future for the oldest team in the international peloton.” 

Alonso’s personal website also confirmed that a deal, while not completely finalised, was close. 

“Fernando, aware of the current situation of Spanish cycling and knowledgeable of the sad news of the definitive disappearance of the Euskaltel Euskadi team, decided to take an interest in the state of affairs of the Basque team with the intention of evaluating its acquisition in order to guarantee it’s continuity,” it explained, “After various days of intense negotiations between both parties, carried out with maximum discretion, we are pleased to announce that the Spanish sportsman has reached an initial agreement to buy said cycling team and so avoid its demise. 

“The double F1 world champion’s great enthusiasm for cycling is well known; apart from including this sport in his daily training routine, he has always felt a special passion for this particular world on two wheels. From an early age, the Spanish racing driver adopted the values transmitted by this sport; values which are an integral part of his personal and professional life philosophy and thanks to which he has been able to grow and reap success in his own sport.”

Euskaltel-Euskadi are one of Spain’s two teams in the WorldTour, cycling’s top league. Led by Spain’s Samuel Sánchez, the 2008 Olympic road-race champion, they had looked likely to fold at the end of the season after 17 years after co-sponsors failed to provide promised funding in 2013. 

No financial details were given of Alonso’s deal but the Spanish websiteelperiodico.com said the Ferrari driver had around €6m ($8m) available to spend on the cycling team. 

Lead sponsor Euskaltel, had committed to continuing its backing of the squad for the next four years, but austerity measures in the Basque country meant that public institutions were unable to provide the promised €3.5m ($4.6m) contribution to the €9m ($11.9m) annual running costs of the team.

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