The Basque cycling team will continue as a team for the next three years and with a new "structure more in line with other WorldTour squads. It will open its doors to non-Basque riders.
Euskaltel another three years with Basque cycling team. Photo: EFE
Basque Country's Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team will continue as a team into the next three seasons with Euskaltel as a single sponsor, Euskaltel sources confirmed on Tuesday at a press conference held in the Zamudio Technology Park.
The 'orange' team will adopt a new structure more in line with other WorldTour squads from the 2013 season. The Fundación Euskadi, a non-profit organization that runs the team at the moment, will hand over control of the team to Basque Cycling Pro Team, management company linked to the firm Euskaltel.
Another major change for the Basque team will be that it will open its doors to non-Basque riders. So far, all the team's riders have been either born in the Basque Country or formed as cyclists in the Basque region, as was the case with current team leader Samuel Sánchez, who comes from Asturias but spent much of his amateur career in the Basque Country.
The new World Tour squad will have about 28 riders, from which seven or eight might be non-Basque. The Basque backbone remains with Samuel Sanchez, Igor Anton, Ion Izagirre, Mikel Landa, Gorka Izagirre, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Astarloza and Mikel Nieve.
The budget will be around 9 million Euros. Former team manager Igor González de Galdeano will return to his former position after a year's sabbatical. González de Galdeano resigned as manager of the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team citing "personal reasons" as the main motive for his decision to pursue new professional challenges.
Euskaltel-Euskadi's current manager, Miguel Madariaga, who has overseen the professional team since it started in 1994, will be moving on but will remain in charge of Fundación Euskadi, a non-profit organization established in 1994 to promote cycling within the Basque Country.
Basque public institutions, such as the Basque government, are expected to continue their sponsorship of the Euskaltel squad, at a lower level.