Samuel Sanchez welcomes the Team Euskatel-Euskadi’s new approach for the season ahead

Samuel Sanchez of Team Euskaltel-Euskadi has noted that the team had no other option but to compromise on its policy of hiring only the Basque country residents.

The team was founded back in 1994 and has an 18 year history of employing only the local residents of Basque country with only a few exceptions.

Sanchez, who was born in Austria but his initial cycling years were spent in Euskadi and was hence allowed to ride for the team.

In order to meet the tough competition and meeting the UCI requirement of having a certain quote of foreign riders on the team, management has decided to include eight overseas riders on its panel.

Tarik Chaqufi of Morocco and three Spaniards including Jon Aberasturi (Orbea), Gari Bravo (Caja Rural) and Juanjo Lobato (Andalusia).

The team could not really perform to its abilities in the 2012 season as it managed to claim the 14th overall position after the team’s final classifications.

Samuel Sanchez scored the maximum number of 332 UCI points and supported the team while Mikel Nieve (98 points), J. Izagirre (46 points), Igor Anton (44 points) and Gorka Verdugo (35 UCI points) made the major contributions in helping the team in the previous season.

While talking to the Spanish newspaper MARCA, he cited, “Something we had to do if we wanted to stay in the WorldTour”.

“[Sponsor] Euskaltel wanted to be part of the top cycling league and Igor [Gonzalez de Galdeano, team manager] has achieved that”.

“There’s nothing to criticise, because the foundation of the team is still formed by Basque riders or who raced as amateurs there, like me,” he said.

“The WorldTour is very demanding and we have to change our mentality and race like a top-flight team, which is what we are in the WorldTour”.

“We have to race to win and if not then remember that second, third and fourth places are also very important,” he concluded.

Team Euskaltel-Euskadi’s final plan for the season ahead is not yet finalised but it is expected that Sanchez will ride the Vuelta a Espana and also hinted a possible chance of riding the Giro d’Italia 2012.