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The Euskadi Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary with the ambition of returning to elite cycling
The Foundation has presented its exciting new era with a clear objective: to thrill fans in Euskadi once again in the world’s best races with a squad made up entirely by cyclists trained by the Foundation.
In an event held at the Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, the Foundation has presented its exciting new era with a clear objective: to thrill fans in Euskadi once again in the world’s best races with a squad made up entirely by cyclists trained by the Foundation.
“Excitement.” “Passion.” "Reserves." “Ambition.”These have been the words that were repeated most often at the event held this Monday at the Azkuna Zentroa in the Biscay capital, which also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Euskadi Foundation and raised the curtain on the season of its cycling team, which this year will compete in the continental category.
The event was attended by distinguished institutional representatives, including the Basque Government’s Sports Director Jon Redondo, Deputy of Culture, Tourism, Youth and Sports in the Provincial Government of Guipuzcoa, Denis Itxaso, President of the Gipuzko Buru Batzar, Joseba Egibar, and the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto. Also present were the top representatives of two Basque companies that have made the greatest commitment to promoting this project: Orbea’s General Director, Jon Fernández, and the founder and owner of Etxeondo, Paco Rodrigo.
Likewise, important celebrities from the world of cycling also wanted to support this new era of the Euskadi Foundation, including the general director of the Vuelta a España, Javier Guillén, ex-cyclists associated with the history of the Foundation, such as Roberto Laiseka, Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia, and Basque athletes, such as mountaineer Alberto Iñurrategi and footballer Asier Illarramendi.
The event was very emotional at times, in particular with the recognition of the work of all the people and organizations that have made the work of the Euskadi Foundation possible over almost 25 years. In particular, the figure of Miguel Madariaga, who has been the soul of the Foundation for more than two decades and who, during this new era, has passed the baton off to Mikel Landa, the new president of the Euskadi Foundation, as of last September.
Jon Fernández, general director of Orbea, remembered the company’s commitment to the Euskadi Foundation project from the very beginning:“Over these 25 years, Orbea has always been here. We represent the guarantee that Orbea has supported, supports and will continue to support the Euskadi Cycling Foundation.”
After reviewing the parallel histories of the Foundation and Orbea, as two projects that have grown from values and roots deeply anchored in our territory, Jon Fernández turned to Mikel Landa to confirm that “we have already once managed to make the utopia come true of a team of Basque cyclists competing on an equal footing with great international teams, and we’ll made it come true once again. You have our guarantee.”
Patxi Rodrigo, director of Etxeondo, in turn, has stressed the “ambition” of the Euskadi Foundation project during this new era:“Once again taking Basque cycling to the peaks where it should always be.”Peaks like Alpe d´huez or Luz Ardiden, which in their day were dyed orange, the color that for many years “impregnated the hearts of Basque fans.”
The ambition is “to relive that dream”:“We know that it won’t be easy,” confessed Patxi Rodrigo, calling for the “support of everyone.”“The roar of the ‘Orange Tide’ will be crucial. Institutions, companies… We know that you will be here, because together, we’re stronger,” he concluded.
Finally, Mikel Landa reminded us of the reasons that have led him to accept the presidency of the Foundation:“To promote Basque cycling and to give back to the Euskadi Foundation everything it has given me.”The new president of the Euskadi Foundation has made his desire known to “transmit the excitement with which we are promoting this project” to all the people, companies and institutions that want to take part in it.“I can't imagine cycling without the Euskadi Foundation,” he stated.
Mikel Landa wanted to thank everyone – “founders, partners, cyclists, companies, institutions…”- who over these past 25 years have made it possible for cyclists trained by the Euskadi Foundation to have the opportunity to shine in the world’s best cycling competitions in the world:“I have the dream of once again seeing the Euskadi Foundation at the top,” he sentenced.