Euskadi Foundation has presented its project for the new season. The stage was set in front of a small group, focusing on responsibility and abiding by all the safety measures to ensure the health of everyone present. The streaming was closely followed by its members, who make this sports and social project possible. Membership is reinforced year after year, with the aim of promoting and extending Basque cycling beyond our borders. This season, it brings together more than 350 riders in its junior and professional ranks.
The sports structure continues to have three leading teams: Euskaltel Euskadi, which will compete for the second consecutive season in the UCI Pro Team category; Laboral Kutxa, which will take part for the first time in the second category of the UCI Women’s Continental Team; and Laboral Kutxa sub-23, which will race for the first time as a subsidiary of the professional team. But it also has a reserve structure made up by around 300 young cycling fans, divided into the different cycling schools it partners with throughout the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.
The Fundación has a unique structure on the international squad, since it is the only project to have the full pyramid of reserve ranks in both the men’s and women’s categories. “One aspect that sets us apart and of which we are very proud is our values. We intend to strengthen our DNA and transfer these values to the entire structure: hard work, integrity, commitment, discipline, respect and ambition, in order to continue to take steps to improve and strengthen this local project with its particular, unique vision and understanding of the sport,” says Jesús Ezkurdia, General Manager of the foundation.
the only project to have the full pyramid of reserve ranks in both the men’s and women’s categories
This project benefits from the support of 26 partner companies and a membership spearheaded by more than 1,600 individual members and an important social group. Orbea, Euskaltel, Laboral Kutxa, Etxeondo and DBA continue as our main sponsors for yet another year, renewing their commitment to support a sports and social project founded on the basis of cooperation, teamwork and business culture.
The Fundación wishes to express our thanks for “the unconditional support” of all the partner companies, “and even more so in the current situation, with the crisis resulting from the pandemic. Their unconditional support is allowing us to lay a foundation to establish the framework for this exciting project. Now it is our turn to pay back the confidence that they have placed in the Fundación. We cannot guarantee victories, but we can guarantee that in terms of hard work, enthusiasm, overcoming obstacles and ambition, no one can defeat us. And of course, this also applies to responsibility, placing the health of our entire social structure above all else; it is clear to us that in the current situation we are experiencing, health is what’s important.”
The other cornerstone of the Foundation is its membership, with the more than 1,600 members at the forefront and a seething orange tide, which will have to contain its yearning to dye the roadsides orange, but without refraining from constantly rooting for both the project and the cyclists of the foundation.
The Foundation has affirmed its intention to improve the channels of communication with both those affiliated and the orange tide. The customary bike rides or visits to Cycling Schools, which will continue to be held as long as the pandemic situation so allows, will be joined by other types of actions that allow the foundation to make closer contact with its members, such as “drawings to be able to follow the stages up close and in person, or to meet the Fundación’s cyclists.”
Evolution of the sports project
But if there is something that the presentation by the Euskadi Foundation has made clear, it was the evolution of its sports project. This project includes 50 cyclists and a technical staff of more than 20 people who work for the organization to improve the performance of its professional structure, where Euskaltel Euskadi will once again take the lead under the guidance of Jorge Azanza, who will direct the orange structure for the seventh consecutive season.
Azanza will have 20 cyclists: 18 are returning from last season, and are joined on the team by Xabier Mikel Azparren, who steps up to the professional ranks from the junior squad, and Luis Ángel Maté, a veteran cyclist who comes from the French Cofidis team. This top-level squad started the season by winning the overall team title at the Clásica Gran Premio in Valencia, and it has set two goals for itself.
Euskaltel Euskadi will once again benefit from the support of two leading brands on the cycling scene. These two local brands have vast international experience, as in the case of Orbea, which will provide bicycles to the entire professional structure, and Etxeondo, which is responsible for the jerseys.
“The Euskadi Foundation means much more than a sports project for Orbea; it is a local sports project that places us on the world stage”
– ANDER OLARIAGA, head of Marketing at Orbea
Ander adds, “It is our commitment to cycling from the ground up, the joint support and development of the reserve ranks to train new generations on the benefits of a life revolving around sports.”He also highlights the work carried out in conjunction with the Foundation to develop and improve our products in order to improve the performance of the team and then transfer this to our community.”
For Laboral Kutxa, it will be a special season. It debuts in the UCI Women’s Continental Team category
For Laboral Kutxa, it will be a special season. It debuts in the UCI Women’s Continental Team category, with a higher level of competition, where the team members led by Ion Lazkano, who also heads the sub-23 squad, will have the chance to compete against the best cyclists on the international calendar in races such as the Itzulia or the Durango-Durango. In the director’s words, “the step up in category will serve to calibrate the level of our riders.”This team will have a dozen riders, seven of them new, who will are out to show what they’ve got.
The junior team, Laboral Kutxa under-23, will compete for the first time as a true subsidiary. Ion Lazkano will be its director, and he will have 17 cyclists under his command, making for a very competitive roster, with a very interesting mix between veteran and young riders. When asked about what he’s wishing for the new season, the new director has it very clear:“We want to help them take the step up to the professional ranks. Ultimately, this is our job.”