Euskaltel Euskadi will fold at the end of this season for want of a second sponsor.

The outfit has today confirmed the team, home to former Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, will begin to close operations with riders free to neogtiate contracts elsewhere.

“Today is a sad day for Euskaltel, for the team for current sponsors, for the fans and to all who have supported this project. We regret that any company or entity has decided to bet on this team,” a press release read.

“The input of a second sponsor, essential to ensure the sustainability of the cycling team, has not been produced, making team continuity impractical from 2014.

“From this moment, Euskaltel will initiate an orderly shutdown.

“During these months we have worked actively to maintain multiple contacts with companies to try to ensure the survival of the team going forward. Despite the work and efforts made by Euskaltel, in the Basque region and internationally, none of the efforts have born fruit.”

Euskaltel has been a team sponsor since 1997 and has contributed more than 45 million euros within that time.