Fernando Alonso Buys Euskaltel Euskadi

Fernando Alonso Buys Euskaltel EuskadiFerrari 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.


You can follow the team on facebook and Twitter



Omega Pharma-QuickStep: More Signings to Come?

OPQ_jerseyThe worst kept secret in professional cycling was officially confirmed last week when Omega Pharma-Quickstep boss Patrick Lefevere announced the signing of Rigoberto Uran. In addition to Uran, who joins from Sky, Lefevere also confirmed the signing of Mark Renshaw from Belkin and Alessandro Petacchi. Uran is expected to be the squad leader and the main contender for Grand Tour success over the next two years of his contract.


Add those three to Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Tony Martin and Mark Cavendish and you have one of the strongest and most versatile squads in pro cycling. But apparently Lefevere says he may add even more. ‘It depends on the moves in the market. Some people I have to speak to still as there are four or five riders in my team who are at the end of their contracts. There’s Euskaltel stopping and so there are a few riders who’ve done well in the mountains before and I’m interested in. But I’m not in a hurry.’ Sammy Sanchez maybe?


OPQ have historically been a good team but never had a contender for the top prizes. So why the sudden change of approach? Lefevre’s explanation is that he’s been put off signing a grand tour contender until now due to cycling’s doping problems.


Well, now he’s got one in Uran, who finished second in the Giro d’Italia this year, despite losing time while supporting a fading Wiggins. As the ever quotable Lefevere said: ‘What’s for sure is that I’m not standing there with a gun in his face telling him he has to get on the podium in the Giro, Tour or Vuelta. If he does it though, of course I’ll be happy.’



Tour of Britain Route Announced

The ninth edition of the modern Tour of Britain runs from Sunday 9 to Sunday 16 September 2012, and will cover 1,349 kilometres through England, Scotland and Wales.


The Grand Depart will take place in Ipswich, with Suffolk and Norfolk hosting the 199km opening stage of this year’s race on Sunday 9 September. From there The Tour will visit Nottingham, Knowsley and Merseyside, Scotland, the North West, Stoke-on-Trent, Wales and Devon before the challenging final stage in the Surrey Hills, finishing on Guildford’s uphill, cobbled High Street on Sunday September 16.


The organisers are expecting over 100 of the world’s best riders representing teams familiar from the Tour de France. From Spain, or more specifically the Basque Country, will be Euskaltel Euskadi, Garmin – Sharp from America, Liquigas – Cannondale from Italy and the Aussies from Orica GreenEDGE. Home interest will rest on Team Sky Pro Cycling who won the event in 2009, with Edvald Boasson Hagen, and grabbed a couple of stage wins in 2011 through Mark Cavendish. Other local interest might also be provided by Endura, Node4 Giordana and Team Raleigh GAC.


One interesting addition will be debutantes Team UK Youth. Owned by Nigel Mansell and ‘promoting the values of leading youth charity UK Youth’ the team seems to be a bit of a family affair with sons Greg riding and Leo acting as Managing Director. You can find out more at Team UK Youth.


The organisers hope the event will once again ‘…showcase Britain’s stunning scenery to a domestic and international audience with some of the world’s top cyclists competing on British roads for the right to win the Gold Jersey.’ This year the key sponsors include logistics firm Yodel and IG Markets.


You can keep up with the latest developments at the news section of the ToB website. You can find preview maps here. You’ll find descriptions on all of the stage routes available and highly detailed interactive stage maps. If you fancy sampling a Tour of Britain route first hand, then visit for more information on the official Tour of Britain sportives taking place in August and September.