Paolo Bettini says that Formula 1 Racing driver Fernando Alonso’s dream of launching his own cycling team has been put on hold for now.
Bettini, the former world champion cyclist and Italian national coach recruited as manager of the proposed team admits there is no prospect a team being ready for the 2015 season.
He said: "Unfortunately, the Alonso project has been put completely on hold for reasons that I cannot elaborate on. I still don't know about the intentions for the future."
Alonso has spoken of his wish to become involved in professional cycling through his own team for nearly five years now, and last year was reported to be trying to buy the licence of the Euskadi-Euskaltel team.
When that deal reached a dead end, he said that he aimed to unveil his team at this year’s Tour de France, though as it turned out his plans had not yet been finalised.
In a statement released at the start of October, Alonso said he had secured backing from a company called NOVO Group Holdings “to acquire a portfolio of assets” related to cycling, without specifying what those might be.
By that time, however, the proposed team had missed the deadlines to apply for either a UCI WorldTour or UCI Professional Continental licence for next season.
Moreover, the uncertainty surrounding whether or not the outfit would be ready is also likely to have deterred some of the riders it was trying to recruit, with Alsonso previously having been linked to the likes of Edvald Boassan Hagen and Peter Sagan.
Bettini added that should the project be revived, he would like to play a part in it.
He said: "If the decision is taken to try to create a team, it will be a pleasure to be dedicated to the project and to use all my experience to the good of the riders."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.