MADRID, Sept 23, 2013 – The deal for Spanish two-time Formula One
champion Fernando Alonso to rescue the financially stricken Euskaltel Euskadi
cycling team has collapsed, the team confirmed on Monday.
The Basque team announced that a deal had been agreed “in principle” for
Alonso to fill a funding gap in their sponsorship after it lost 3.5 million
euros ($4.7 million, £3 million) of local government funding due to spending
The team’s main sponsor, telecommunications company Euskaltel, filled that
funding gap themselves for this season, taking their contribution to seven
million of the team’s nine million euro budget
However, it said that level of investment was unsustainable and it was
announced in August that the team would be shut down at the end of the season
should another sponsor not be found.
And with the breakdown in negotiations it appears as if the last hope to
save the 19-year old team have disappeared.
“The negotiations between Euskaltel and the representatives of Fernando
Alonso for the acquisition of the cycling team Euskaltel Euskadi on behalf of
the Asturian driver, which began with an agreement in principle on August 31,
have ended without an agreement,” the team said in a statement.
“For Euskaltel it is sad news that after the hope generated by the
agreement in principle, a definitive agreement has not been formalised to
guarantee a professional future for the members of the team and to reward the
fans that have been loyal until the last moment.
“We would like to explain the details of the negotiations, because we have
done our part, with total honesty, but it is not possible because we need to
respect the confidentiality of the negotiations.
“Having not achieved an agreement, Euskaltel is unfortunately obligated to
restart an organised and responsible closure of the project.”
Despite the uncertainty over the team’s future, Euskaltel achieved their
first ever victory in the team classification of a grand tour in the recently
completed Tour of Spain.
However, cyclists contracted to the team for the 2014 season, including
Olympic gold medallist Samuel Sanchez, had already been given permission to
speak to other teams about finding a place in the peloton for next season.