Formula One driver Fernando Alonso has bought the licence of World Tour cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi.
The Spanish Euskaltel-Euskadi team faced disbandment for the 2014 season, following its failure to secure sponsorship. Cycling fan and Spaniard Alonso will create a team based on a reported €6 million budget covered by his existing sponsors.
Cyclist Samuel Sánchez will lead the team, which will also acquire a new name and will be based in Alonso’s hometown of Asturias, where cyclists from the region will also allegedly join the team.
Telecommunications company Euskaltel will be unable to contribute to the new team, even though it planned on signing a multiple-year sponsorship, as the firm is partly funded by the economically struggling Spanish government.
A team statement read: "Euskaltel wants to thank the double Formula One champion for reaching an agreement and would like to emphasise the respect, understanding and love that Fernando Alonso has shown for the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, its professionals, its historical legacy and his hobby."