Report: Euskaltel Euskadi team has run out of time in hunt for new sponsor
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Report: Euskaltel Euskadi team has run out of time in hunt for new sponsor

by Shane Stokes at 4:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Riders, staff learn that there’s no hope of a turnaround

Samuel SanchezAfter almost two decades of involvement in the sport, the Basque Euskaltel Euskadi team is set to close its doors at the end of the season, with no solution being found to its loss of sponsors for the 2014 season.

According to the Basque newspaper El Correo, the end point has been reached and one day before the riders and team workers leave home and travel to the start point of the Vuelta a España, that they have been told that there will be no last minute turnaround.

A month and a half ago the team warned that the situation was very serious. On July 9th it issued a statement explaining that the various Basque institutions which previously backed the team were now no longer able to do so as a result of the tough economic climate in Spain and the Basque country.

It said that as a result of that, the Euskaltel telecommunications company, which has backed the team since late 1997, had to step up its commitment this year to keep the team going. “Euskaltel, which annually provides 3.5 million euros out of a total budget of 9 million euros, this year has taken the effort to cover the share of the [Basque] institutions so that the team can compete in the elite of world cycling,” stated the team. It added that the situation meant that Euskaltel had to provide double amount this year, 7 million euro.

It said that the situation was not viable for the future and that if a new sponsor was not found, the team would stop. It said then that it was in negotiations with a couple of possibilities but time has now run out.

With the riders and team staff now told that they must look elsewhere, those without something in place for 2014 must up their efforts and try to secure something else. According to El Correo, the riders had wanted for something to be in place prior to the start of the Vuelta. Instead, the riders heading there know that the race is a farewell to its legion of orange-clad fans.

The team has a WorldTour licence extending beyond this season, raising hopes that a new backer would step in, or perhaps someone keen to acquire a place in cycling’s top division.

Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkoff was reported this week as having been in negotiations with the team owners; he had recently indicated that he would no longer act as a co-sponsor to Team Saxo Bank and wanted to set up his own top level squad.

However Tinkoff dismissed such talk yesterday, stating that reports linking him to the team were not accurate.

The Euskaltel Euskadi team includes riders such as former Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez, plus the climbers Igor Anton and Mikel Nieve. It said this week that it would try to win the Vuelta with Sanchez. He finished second overall in 2009.


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