Formula One star Fernando Alonso is reportedly considering taking over one of two Dutch cycling teams, Belkin or Giant-Shimano, instead of creating a WorldTour team from scratch for the 2015 cycling season.
“Until August 1 [due to UCI rules], you cannot sign riders,” Alonso’s manager Luis García Abad told Spain’s Ciclo21 website. “And until November 1, if we’re lucky to have one, we can’t receive confirmation of a first division licence. We can’t make moves as a team simply because we are not one yet.”
He added that the two-time World Champion Formula One driver would have to race to start a new team. “We’d have to organise everything in record time to have a team ready by January 1, 2015.”
Spain’s AS newspaper reported on Monday as the 18 first division teams raced the Tour de France’s London stage that Alonso is looking for options to secure a team’s entire structure and licence. Alonso already looked at doing so last September when Euskaltel was pulling out of cycling but reportedly could not reach an agreement with the Basque team over its existing rider and sponsorship contracts.
Belkin or Giant could offer him an option for 2015. American consumer electronics manufacturer, Belkin announced on June 17 that it would pull its team sponsorship. General Manager Richard Plugge said that he has “four or five contacts already” to continue the team. Giant-Shimano manager, Iwan Spekenbrink is also looking to secure his team’s future.
Both Dutch teams, however, denied today at the Tour de France that they are dealing with Alonso for the 2015. Marcel Kittel, Giant’s sprinter and winner in London, said that his “future is secure” but added that he did not know about any Alonso deal.
The 32-year-old Spaniard, who finished sixth in the British GP on Sunday, is friends with Alberto Contador and other cyclists and already in 2009, considered creating a team with Contador. At the Giro d’Italia, the last time he commented on his team, he said that he is serious about 2015.
“The desire, our intentions are for 2015,” Alonso said. “We are working on our project, but I’m in a world that I don’t know well. We want to create a team, a good team, taking F1 to cycling. It’s step by step for now.”
Alonso reportedly has €20m for five years in sponsorship ready from the UAE and it was initially said that he would announce the team structure and sponsorship details on the Tour’s first rest day, July 15. The date now appears uncertain, but with riders searching for contracts and teams for sponsors, the picture should become clearer as the Tour races towards Paris.
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