Mikel Landa‘s Fundación Euskadi team has its long-term sights set on the WorldTour.
The Basque team backed by grand tour stalwart Landa will be racing at the Pro Continental level in 2020, when the tier will be known as the Pro Series. The team’s bid to step up to Pro Series has been in the pipeline for the past month but only recently confirmed.
The team races in orange jerseys similar to the iconic Euskaltel-Euskadi team, which folded in 2013 having spent its last four years at the sport’s top level.
“The goal when we started was to bring back the team from the past”, said Landa at the team presentation, reported Weilerfilits, Thursday. “We started with small steps in that direction and this season is another one. We do it step by step, without hurry. The project wants to grow and dreams of a return of the Euskaltel from the past.”
The Basque team follows in its predecessor’s footsteps by building its roster around local Basque riders, and will pick up five riders from Euskadi Murias, which folded at the end of the season.
“We place great value on talent and our region, which means that a number of young riders can continue to grow,” said Landa, who was born in Basque town Murgia. “We are very motivated and we hope that we can inspire Basque fans.”
Landa’s career was launched when he joined Euskaltel Euskadi in 2011, and stepped up to the WorldTour for the first time.
“I hope that in a few years the team will be back where it was before and I, why not, can end up where I once started,” he said.
Landa races for Bahrain Merida in 2020 in a new-look iteration of the team that will include new members Mark Cavendish, Wout Poels, and former Sky/Ineos coach Rod Ellingworth.