MILAN (VN) — Formula One star Fernando Alonso wants to debut in cycling with a dream team. He will present his project on the 2014 Tour de France’s first rest day, July 15, and plans to have the squad race starting in the 2015 season. Today, more than a year away from the team’s first race, the motor is already revving.
Kiko García, who is slated to be the team manager, said today he and his colleagues are drawing up the rough outline. According to a report from Italy, that outline includes stars Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha).
“An interesting list of riders will see their contracts expire,” García, currently Oakley’s European representative, told Spain’s Bici Ciclismo. “Fortunately, it’s different than this season, when hardly any riders were free.”
Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported the news below its motoring section this morning. It said that Alonso inviting Sagan and Rodriguez to VIP events was more than just a coincidence. It speculated that the Slovak and Spanish stars, along with Alonso’s longtime friend Samuel Sánchez, must be on the top of the team’s list of potential riders.
Sánchez hoped that Alonso would start his team for 2014 as originally planned because his team, Euskaltel-Euskadi, had folded. He remains uncertain what he will do next season. Sagan and Rodríguez continue with their teams through next year but are free for 2015.
“We will face that when it’s time,” Cannondale general manager Roberto Amadio told VeloNews. “We’ll make our offer; the other teams will make their offers. Sagan will decide.”
After this year’s world championships, Sagan and Rodríguez spent a day testing a Ferrari F12berlinetta at the Maranello track with Alonso. The trip may have decided it for Sagan. The Italian newspaper said that he seems to be already turning down other contract offers and is waiting on the Spanish F1 star.
La Gazzetta dello Sport added that the picture would be clearer in the spring, when Alonso will sign contracts with sponsors. It reported last month that he already has deals with two sponsors.
‘Step by step’
The 32-year-old Alonso, a two-time world champion on the Formula One circuit, initially appeared to be entering the cycling world in 2014. The idea was that he would continue Euskaltel’s UCI WorldTour license and save its staff from standing in the unemployment line. The deal fell through, but according to García, they are better off because of it.
“It’s true, we tried and started dealing with some riders. Now, though, we have time to do everything more calmly,” García explained.
“Fernando is a fighter and a winner, and I know that his intention is to make a great team and be the best. How? Step by step, with work and humility. Does this mean he will sign one or two big names in the first year? I don’t know, but the idea is to make an ambitious and big project.”
García said that Alonso would finish his F1 duties — the season ended at the Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday — and then turn his attention to the cycling project. He will sign sponsors and riders and based on today’s speculation, they will include some big names. Details will trickle down between now and the team’s presentation at the Tour next summer even if Alonso must wait until August 1 to unveil his dream team.