It’s no secret that I like the Tour de France. No, I’m not a cyclist but a buddy of mine is and he got me into the sport years ago. If for any other reason, I’ve never been to France so the coverage is like a travelogue for three weeks and if there are two better sport commentary team that Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwan, I’ve never heard them.
Good news as Fernando Alonso is set to be an owner of a cycling team in the form of none other than Euskaltel Euskadi team. The famous orange jerseys of the Basque team have been a part of the cycling world since 1994. The team were unofficially the Basque National team with funding coming from the Basque government up until 2013.
The team is centered around a terrific rider in the form of Samuel “Sammy” Sánchez González. Sammy is a fierce competitor and good guy in the peloton. Alonso has been a keen cyclist for some time now and his interest sparked rumors a couple years ago about a possible team centered around Alberto Contador but the Spaniards ban from cycling may have put a hold on that notion. Alonso’s website said:
“Fernando Alonso, aware of the current situation of Spanish cycling and knowledgeable of the sad news of the definitive disappearance of the Euskaltel Euskadi team, decided to take an interest in the state of affairs of the Basque team with the intention of evaluating its acquisition in order to guarantee it’s continuity. 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 double F1 World Champion’s great enthusiasm for cycling is well known; apart from including this sport in his daily training routine, he has always felt a special passion for this particular world on two wheels. From an early age, the Spanish racing driver adopted the values transmitted by this sport; values which are an integral part of his personal and professional life philosophy and thanks to which he has been able to grow and reap success in his own sport.”
The Spanish economy is in turmoil at the moment and spending money on cycling teams is not something the government is most likely willing to do but a Formula 1 driver is another matter. The Basque fans have been incredibly supportive of the team every year and the images of them all orange as riders climb the Pyrenees. With sponsorship good through 2015, the team will honor its obligation but it is unclear if Alonso is bringing his stable of sponsors to the game as well.