Ferrari Formula 1 driver and former world champion Fernando Alonso has agreed to buy the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team after they faced disbandment following the loss of their sponsors and funding via the Basque government – thought to be worth around €3.5million (£3m). A statement on Alonso’s website announced: ‘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 team’s primary sponsor, Spanish telecoms company Euskaltel, issued their own statement (of thanks) which read: ‘Euskaltel wants to thank the double Formula One champion for reaching an agreement and would like to emphasise the respect, understanding and love that Fernando Alonso has shown for the Euskaltel Euskadi team, its professionals, its historical legacy and his hobby.’
It is thought likely that the team will be build primarily around Samuel ‘Sammy’ Sanchez, winner of the 2012 Tour of the Basque Country and three-times top 10 finisher of the Tour de France. The 35-year-old carries with him a huge range of experience – everything from a second place at the 2009 Vuelta a Espana to Road Race Gold in Beijing – along with a solid reputation for hard work and pure dependability.
Further announcements on the deal between Fernando Alonso and Euskaltel Euskadi are expected in the coming weeks as the 2013 season begins to wrap.