Euskaltel Euskadi confirms it has begun ‘an orderly shutdown’ of team
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Euskaltel Euskadi confirms it has begun ‘an orderly shutdown’ of team

by Shane Stokes at 6:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Management rue ‘sad day’ for team and for cycling

Euskaltel EuskadiConfirming what was reported today in the Basque media, the Euskaltel Euskadi team has formally announced that it has begun the process of winding up the team, although it commits to finishing out the season before all activity stops.

The sad news makes official the ending of a team which has been involved in the sport for almost two decades, and which has been one of the most recognisable due to its bright orange team kit and similarly attired fans.

“Euskaltel Euskadi can not continue next season,” the squad acknowledges in its announcement. “The input of a second sponsor, essential to ensure the sustainability of the team, has not been produced, making the project unfeasible to maintain from next year. However we will comply fully with the sporting calendar for 2013.

“Therefore, from this moment Euskaltel will start an orderly and responsible shutdown process of the project, including the immediate negotiation of card of release for the members of the team.

“Today is a sad day for Euskaltel, for the team, for current sponsors, for the fans and to all who have supported this project. We regret that no company or entity has decided to bet on this team.”

The squad has been under pressure since last year, with the Basque institutions which previously had covered half the budget being unable to do so due to the crumbling financial economy in that region and Spain in general.

The Euskaltel telecommunications company stepped up its commitment to cover the gap and to enable the team to remain in the WorldTour this season. That meant increasing its input from 3.5 million to seven million Euro, but the company indicated that it couldn’t do so in 2014.

“During these months we have worked actively to maintain multiple contacts with companies to try to ensure the survival of the team going forward, going to the possible limits of negotiation,” said the team management today. “Despite the work and efforts made by Euskaltel, in the Basque region and internationally, none of the efforts have borne fruit.”

Showing gratitude, it paid tribute to the backing of the company, which has been one of the longest-running sponsors in the sport.

“Euskaltel’s financial support of the cycling team began seventeen years ago, in late 1997, in the first year of implementation of the company, at a time when the team was going through a delicate economic times,” the management said. “Euskaltel's commitment to the team is reflected in that it has contributed more than 45 million euros to the team in those seventeen years.”

The news is a blow to the riders, the team workers, the fans and the sport itself. Riders such as former Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez are trying to keep their morale up as they head to the Vuelta a España, a race which has benefited considerably from the team’s presence and aggression in past years, and which will now mark its Grand Tour adios.

The sun is setting on the team. It had a quiet Tour de France, but if the riders and staff can channel their disappointment into a determination to go out on a high, the Vuelta could be a fitting farewell for Euskaltel Euskadi.

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