With Euskaltel-Euskadi officially closing down operations at the end of the 2013 season (and having failed to be saved by Fernando Alonso), it looked as though it might be a while before we saw the likes of them again.
But a new UCI Pro Continental Basque team, Murias Taldea, was officially presented last weekend in Barakaldo, with the hope it can take over – as the team management put it – as a new “model for Basque cycling”.
Up until late in its existence, Euskaltel kept a Basque-only rider policy, in order to maintain the development of local youth riders, until it began to bring in international riders in order to secure enough points to maintain WorldTour status.
And while Murias isn’t at the WorldTour level just yet, team manager Jon Odriozola thinks that the team will need to build slowly if it is to be “the saviour” of Basque cycling.
“Basque cycling needed a new team to excite the people,” Odriozola told AS. “Murias is the saviour. It’s a solid project and open to anyone who wants to come to support it, it is for everyone.
“The motto unveiled yesterday is ‘illusion and hope’. After Movistar, there are few stuctures in this country for riders.”
The ‘cantera’ youth policy is certainly a priority for the team, with the most experienced rider in their first line-up Egoitz García, who moved from Cofidis to join Murias, and is the most experienced of the all home-grown squad of riders at 28-years-old.
Murias will target the Spanish and French racing calendars during its first season as a third division team and has steered away from the orange of Euskaltel, picking green and black as the colours for their Bio-Racer kit.
“I hope that now people identify with the green as before they had identified with the color orange,” Odriozola said.
“We are closing in on a pretty nice calendar and from there you can get going and work with good racing. We have some interesting races in France and a good team that requires patience and a bit of work, but we will achieve beautiful goals.”
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