Euskaltel-Euskadi fighting for future
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Euskaltel-Euskadi fighting for future

by Jered Gruber at 12:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

There isn't a team in the world like it: Euskaltel-Euskadi. The team serves as an unofficial Basque national team, receives funding from the Basque government, and employs almost entirely native Basques, with star Samuel Sanchez as the notable exception. The team, in its 16th year, has no guarantee it will see a 17th in 2011. In August, it was announced that all was in order for 2010, but after that, the future of the team's sponsorship was murky at best.

The recent purple patch in the team's backyard at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco could well have helped in their hopes of securing a future for the orange-clad team. The squad took a stage win courtesy of Samuel Sanchez, along with four other Top 6 results, a spot on the podium by way of Beñat Intxausti, and then capped a great week in the Basque Country with an Euskaltel 1-2 at the Klasika Primavera on Sunday: Sanchez took the day, Igor Anton followed in 2nd.

Founder of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, Miguel Madariaga, spoke with the Diario Vasco after the successes and confirmed that the team's great ride could well have made a difference in their future hopes: "Before our Tour, the possibility of continuing was 50-50. After our good performance in the Basque Country, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I would say that our chances have now risen to 60%."

With the upcoming Ardennes Classics drawing nigh, Samuel Sanchez could have the future of the team in his Asturian hands if he can manage a result akin to his Beijing triumph in 2008.

Madariaga is hopeful in his quest despite the current worldwide financial concerns, "Several sponsors have shown interest, despite the economic crisis. If a team like this goes, I will do my utmost to ensure its survival."

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