Madrid - Basque cycling team Euskaltel Euskadi is to shut down at the end of this season due to a lack of funding caused by the current economic crisis, the team said on Tuesday.
The news comes as a huge blow to cycling in Spain with the Vuelta a Espana set to begin on Saturday.
"Euskaltel Euskadi will not continue next season," it said in a statement.
"The introduction of a second sponsor, essential to guarantee the sustainability of the team, has not come to pass, making it unfeasible for the team to continue from the start of next year, although it will wholly complete the sporting calendar for 2013."
The team's main sponsor, telecommunications company Euskaltel, admitted last month that it was looking for another sponsor to help with the running costs of the team after local government withdrew its €3.5 million of public funding due to spending cuts.
Euskaltel filled that funding gap themselves for this season, taking their contribution to seven million of the team's nine million euro budget. However, it said that level of investment was unsustainable.
"Today is a sad day for Euskaltel, the team, the current sponsors, fans and all that have supported this project.
"We regret that no other company or entity have decided to bet on this team, well-established in the elite of world cycling."
Cyclists currently contracted to the team for the 2014 season, including Olympic gold medallist Samuel Sanchez, have been given permission to speak to other teams about finding a place in the peloton for next season.