Fernando Alonso is determined to assemble a professional cycling team for 2015.
Indeed, the Formula 1 driver/cycling enthusiast met with Brian Cookson this week to discuss his plans firsthand with the newly elected UCI President.
A meeting with Cookson took place yesterday in Madrid, following a ceremony, wherein 2013 WorldTour winners’ Joaquim Rodríguez and Team Movistar were presented with trophies.
Alonso was accompanied by Ana Muñoz, director general of the Higher Council for Sports (CSD), Spanish Federation president José Luis López Cerrón and Alonso’s manager Luis García Abad.
After speaking with Cookson, Alonso acknowledged that WorldTour status would not be a necessity for his team in 2015.
"It was a very positive meeting,” Alonso told Spanish newspaper AS. “It seems of secondary importance for this project to be in the WorldTour in 2015. With the great team that we’re going to have, we are going to be assured of being in the best races.”
Alonso had initially hoped to secure a WorldTour license before plans to purchase the Euskaltel-Euskadi team fell threw. And, if a newly proposed plan to reduce the number of WorldTour teams to 16 goes into effect for 2015, it might prevent him from securing a WorldTour licence in the first year.
Nevertheless, Alonso is confident that he can secure wildcard entry into the Vuelta a España, after meeting with the race’s organizers.
“Our objective is to form a team that can take the wildcards,” said Alonso’s manager García. "We have many contacts and there are cyclists who will be free at the end of 2014. The idea isn’t to start breaking contracts.”
With the loss of two WorldTour teams at the end of this season, the UCI has welcomed Alonso’s plans.
“Our objective is to help people like Alonso and projects as exciting as his to become part of the sport,” Cookson said.
“We are working to return the confidence in cycling. Like many countries, Spain has lived through a difficult economic time. But, like in all sports, the most important thing is to bet and invest in the foundation and I will help in anyway possible to make that bet.”
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