Spanish Formula One star Fernando Alonso has stated that his plans to establish a new cycling team in 2015 are progressing well but added that securing a place on the elite WorldTour would not be an immediate priority.
The Ferrari driver and two-time F1 world champion had hoped to secure a team for 2014 only for the collapse of negotiations in September to acquire a WorldTour licence from Euskaltel-Euskadi. However, following a “very positive” meeting with International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson, Alonso told Spanish newspaper AS: “It seems of secondary importance for this project to be in the WorldTour in 2015. With the great team that we’re going to have, we are going to be assured of being in the best races.”
AS reports that the new team would seek to secure wildcard entries into the Vuelta a Espana and Tour de France – two of cycling’s ‘Grand Tours’ alongside the Giro d’Italia. The WorldTour is set to see two of its teams dissolve at the end of this season, and Cookson has welcomed Alonso’s drive to establish a new outfit.
“Our objective is to help people like Alonso and projects as exciting as his to become part of the sport,” Cookson said. “We are working to return the confidence in cycling. Like many countries, Spain has lived through a difficult economic time. But, like in all sports, the most important thing is to bet and invest in the foundation and I will help in any way possible to make that bet.”