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Alonso steps up cycling team plans with Novo partnership

Spanish Formula One star Fernando Alonso has partnered with UAE-based sport investment firm Novo in a bid to drive forward his plans to establish a professional cycling team.

In a statement, the two parties said they intend to acquire a portfolio of assets in the field of cycling whose growth they can help to accelerate. The Ferrari driver and two-time F1 world champion has held a long-running ambition to form a cycling team. He had hoped to secure a team for this year only for the collapse of negotiations in September 2013 to acquire a WorldTour licence from Euskaltel-Euskadi.

The latest development comes ahead of today’s (Wednesday’s) deadline for applications for 2015 ProTeam licences to be received by the International Cycling Union (UCI). Novo’s managing partner Nathan Pillai said the formation of a team remains an integral component of their plans with Alonso.

“Just as motor sport provides a platform for manufacturers to reach potential buyers, professional cycling gives us a powerful shop window to integrate our portfolio companies, conduct R&D and promote our activities,” Pillai said. “We want to create a competitive, sustainable team franchise that is loved and admired for its innovation, transparency and commitment to social responsibility. We are busy putting in place the foundations required to achieve the long term success we desire and will make an announcement on our progress in due course.”

Commenting on his part in the venture, Alonso said: “I've been fortunate to have worked with some of the world's most desirable and innovative companies such as Ferrari, Oakley, Renault and McLaren. In the relentless pursuit of success, I know what makes an organisation successful. It is this experience and desire to win that I will bring to this project. We see a window of opportunity and plan to kick it wide open.”

Pillai added: “Current social, economic and market conditions have created an attractive proposition for investors. Our research points to certain segments of the market where participation, consumption and media interest in all things cycling are on the up. Inspired by what we have learnt in F1, we see opportunities in high performance products, wearable technologies and content that serve these segments. We have access to off-market and proprietary opportunities as well as a competitive advantage over financial investors.”