By Nigel Wynn
Negotiations between Spanish Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso and the management of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team have collapsed, leaving the future of the squad once again uncertain.
Alonso announced earlier this month that he had formed an 'initial agreement' to buy the Basque squad's WorldTour licence and retain 14 of its riders.
As negotiations progressed, however, the two parties failed to make a firm agreement, ending hope of a good outcome for the squad. No specific reasons were given for the disintegration of talks.
"It is a sad day for Euskaltel and the team, after the expectations generated by the first agreement reached in late August and public statements made at the time by Fernando Alonso and his representatives," the squad said in a statement issued on Monday.
"For Euskaltel it is sad news that a final agreement hasn't been reached after all the hope created by the tentative agreement."
The 14 riders still contracted by the team for the 2104 season will now have to find a new team for next year. Riders potentially left high and dry include 2008 Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez, Igor Anton, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Gorka Izagirre and Jon Izagirre.
Euskaltel-Euskadi were in action on Sunday in the men's team time trial world championship in Florence, Italy, where they placed 18th behind winners Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
Alonso still determined to create team for 2015
Alonso has stated that he is still working on creating a cycling team for 2015, from the ground up if necessary.
"My passion for the sport, my will to cooperate and do my bit remains intact," he wrote in a message posted on his Twitter account on Monday evening.
"This is only the beginning of the future.Tomorrow morning we are going to work on building, if needs be from scratch, a team we can form, respecting this sport with humility."
"Cycling and its fans deserve the best and now we have time on our side, time in which we'll be very attentive to any circumstance that we can learn from and, above all, that can make us better for next year."
"It wasn't to be, but it will be! This adventure has only just begun. Let's look forward to 2015."
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