The Spanish cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi is set to fold as a takeover bid by Formula One driver Fernando Alonso has collapsed.
Following the team’s failure to secure sponsors, Spanish Ferrari driver Alonso – a keen bike rider – wanted to purchase the company that owns the team's WorldTour licence so that it could continue its 17 years of racing in professional cycling's top league in 2014.
Sponsors Euskaltel said in a statement: “We could not reach a definitive agreement. Euskaltel is now obliged, regrettably, to return to the process of an orderly and responsible closure of the project.
"For Euskaltel and the team this is sad news after the hope generated by the initial agreement reached at the end of August and public declarations at that time by Alonso and his representatives."
Alonso wrote via Twitter: "We've tried it until the end but it's just been impossible to have a cycling team in 2014. My passion for the sport remains intact so this is only the beginning of the future. From tomorrow morning we are going to work on building, if needs be from scratch, a team we can be proud of."