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UCI WorldTour mainstay to fold after sponsorship blow

UCI WorldTour cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi has confirmed it will disband at the end of the 2013 season after having failed to secure a secondary sponsor for the 2014 campaign.

The Basque outfit has competed since 1994, with local telecommunications company Euskatel having backed the team since 1997.

However, its demise has been prompted by the economic downturn in the Basque region and Spain as a whole.

The Cycling News website said that Euskaltel in January promised to continue supporting the team for a further four years, but when the €3.5m ($4.55m) promised by Basque public institutions as part of the €9m annual budget was not provided, the company had to meet the shortfall for 2013 by doubling its original annual investment.

Euskatel had indicated that such a situation would not be sustainable beyond this year, prompting the search for a co-sponsor, which the team said was initiated on a national and international basis.

However the team said: “The arrival of a second sponsor, essential to ensuring the sustainability of the cycling team, has not taken place, which makes the continuation of the team in 2014 unfeasible. From this moment, Euskaltel will begin an orderly winding down of the project, including the immediate negotiation of the release papers of the team members.”

The statement added: “Today is a sad day for Euskaltel, for the team, for the current sponsors and for all of those who have supported the project. We regret that no company has opted to back this team, the doyen of the world cycling elite.”