Formula One star Fernando Alonso met with the president of the Association of Professional Riders at the Italian Grand Prix on Friday as part of his project to save the cash-strapped Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team.
Alonso has reached a preliminary deal to buy the financially troubled Basque cycling team and met with Gianni Bugno at the Monza race track.
The two-time F1 champion's website said Monday that he is trying to acquire Basque Pro Cycling Team (BCPT), the company that owns Euskaltel Euskadi, within the next few weeks.
The Spanish driver hopes his takeover will help honor the current contracts of the team's riders for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
"Gianni Bugno has met Fernando Alonso to thank him for his idea of saving Euskaltel Euskadi," the CPA said in a statement. "Bugno, who will shortly meet the President of the UCI to discuss the current economic situation of cycling, hopes that this gesture will be taken as an example (for) others."
Financial terms for Alonso's proposed takeover have not been disclosed, but it would reportedly cost the Ferrari driver about 6 million euros ($7.9 million) to buy the cash-strapped team's WorldTour license and prevent it from folding at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old Alonso, second overall behind Sebastian Vettel in the F1 championship, is a big cycling fan and often rides during the season to keep his fitness levels up.
"Gianni and Fernando have mentioned (their mutual) friends Miguel Indurain, Alberto Contador, Samuel Sanchez," the CPA said. "They left each other with the commitment to meet soon during a bicycle or car race."
Sanchez, the 2008 Olympic road race champion, is among Euskaltel Euskadi's star riders. Indurain is the co-record holder with five Tour de France wins alongside French rider Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, while Contador has won the race twice.