Fernando Alonso’s ambitions of starting his own WorldTour team seem to have been stuck in limbo for a long time now, but it is no surprise when you see why. The general consensus of many outlets regarding the project was that it had been left dead in the water after a failed takeover of Euskaltel-Euskadi and an uphill struggle with the UCI to gain a licence. Project ‘FACT’ (Fernando Alonso Cycling Team) cannot sign any riders until a license has been granted by the UCI but he also cannot start to register a team without riders already secured; hence the never-ending tail chasing.
It certainly is not unusual in recent years for a team to be born and racing in the space of a year, with a full rosta of riders such as Team Sky in 2010 or Orica-Greenedge in 2012, but it is a hefty task. It appears that Alonso’s original flurry of activity in 2013 to sign riders and capture the Euskaltel-Euskadi licence hit his ambitions hard, certainly when it came to securing the required sponsorship to perform at the level he desires. However, the rumoured investment from a Dubai sponsor has restarted the attempts to sign some riders up this month and the race is now on for Alonso to finalise deals, if he wishes to see his team racing come 2015. Leaving his contract talks until after this year’s Le Tour de France has not been a wise move, as many riders will have already landed contracts to ensure their place amongst 2015’s peloton. Despite these negative factors, FACT is an attractive option for a rider should the €20 million budget be true and with Belkin folding and Germin/Cannondale merging, Fernando Alonso may find himself picking up a few stars along the way.