The new World Tour squad will have about 28 riders, from which eight will be non-Basque. Foreign riders that will bring Euskaltel vital UCI ranking points to secure the World Tour Status.
Euskaltel team manager Igor González de Galdeano presented on Monday the new squad that should help secure the Basque team's World Tour status.
A major change for the Basque team will be that it will open its doors to non-Basque riders for the first time . So far, all the team's riders have been either born in the Basque Country or formed as cyclists in the Basque region, as was the case with current team leader Samuel Sánchez.
The new World Tour squad will have about 28 riders, from which eight will be non-Basque. The Basque backbone remains with Samuel Sanchez, Igor Anton, Ion Izagirre, Mikel Landa, Gorka Izagirre, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Astarloza and Mikel Nieve.
The list of foreign riders that will bring Euskaltel vital UCI ranking points to secure the World Tour Status includes Portugal's Ricardo Mestre, Morocco's Tarik Chaoufi, Greece's Ioannis Tamouridis, Russia's Alexander Serebryakov, Slovenia's Jure Kocjan and Robert Crecer and Germany's André Schulze and Steffen Radochla (1978).
"We want to be able to participate by right in the Tour de France and in the best races. That can only be achieved by being part of the WorldTour, which has its points' system. It's no longer a case of deserving to be in the WorldTour - that's not enough. You have to fulfil the requirements. There's no point wasting time by criticising the situation, the team, its decisions and the bodies that oversee this sport", team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano said.
The exclusion of non-Basque riders had been a point of contention within the team in recent years, with former boss Galdeano and several key supporters within Euskaltel believing that the restriction was detrimental to the team's success and long-term development.