Euskatel is gone.
This can only be good news to Tour de France GC contenders afraid of being taken down in the first week by the notoriously sloppy bike handling skills of the Basques. Uphill, excellent, flats, not so good.
I’ve always had a fondness for Euskatel and their loud orange jerseys, boisterous, borderline crazy fans, the impossible-to-pronounce names and their David vs. WorldTour team vibe. They were the little orange engine that could, puffing up the mountain to out-fox the big budget squads. They were proud and fun and the tapas were fantastic.
All gone now except for the tapas.
Andy Hood puts the team and its history into a nice perspective on Velonews. I can only offer a few small personal experiences. Three years ago I pitched Cycle Sport magazine on spending time with the Basques in the Pyrenees for the 2011 Tour de France.
In preparation I read two books on Basque history and spent three days on the roadside in the Pyrenees. I had a tremendous amount of fun and discovered the cheap and evil drink of choice — kalimoxto — red wine mixed with Coca Cola.
At least the kalimoxti is still pouring.