My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Gonzalez de Galdeano regrets the demise of the Basque team

Category: Cycling

Formula One pilot Fernando Alonso thought about taking over the Euskaltel cycling team. But the project failed.

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano told that he does not "understand how someone who is willing to invest 17 to 20 million and wants to create a big project, has no idea how it works. He was ill-advised and remains very badly advised. I am looking forward to see if his new project sees the light next year."

In September, Fernando Alonso announced that he planned to take over the Euskaltel cycling team and its World Tour license for 2014. The plan collapsed after extensive talks. Now Alonso aims to launch a World Tour team in 2015.

'We were clear with Alonso. We presented our case clearly and have no fault in this. Alonso enters a world he knows nothing about. Cycling is not Formula 1. It is just as complicated as Formula 1, or even more so. He thought he could take money and do whatever he would like," says Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.

It is not easy to take care of a cycling team.

Gonzalez de Galdeano himself started his career with the Basque team before riding for ONCE. When he retired in 2006, he joined the staff of Euskaltel and took up the role of manager in 2009. He left the team, in 2011, citing personal reasons, but then returned for the new-look Euskaltel project in 2013.

The 2013 project included a new financing structure with Euskaltel taking over the WorldTour license. The Basque team could hire non-Basque riders for the first time in its existence, after the separating from the Fundación Euskadi. But the team only lasted one more year, due to lack of funding.

"I entered the lion's den when I shouldn't have. I should have picked someone who was from outside of the cycling world. That would have been better. I however did the job because it was irresistible but I suffered a lot. I did my master in labor-related disputes this year," Gonzalez de Galdeano said.

The team signed foreign riders like Alexandre Serebryakov and Tarik Chaoufi. It was good to look for riders outside the Basque country, it was a smart idea, but the team just was not lucky with who they signed. Serebryakov tested positive and Chaoufi left the team suffering with homesickness.

The Euskaltel team only managed to win four races and two national championships with Greek rider Ioannis Tamouridis.

"If you would ask me today if we should have signed foreigners, I say no. The project got a boost with the new philosophy but then results didn't come and the project was destroyed," said Gonzalez de Galdeano.

"I don't know who destroyed this project but it wasn't me. I was the scapegoat. If I would do it again? No, loco. I have lost a lot."
Say something: