The quality of the roster of the new Luxembourg team means it will be under pressure to be immediately successful next season but sports director Kim Andersen is not letting the expectation get to him.
"There are obviously high expectations for us. I cannot get around that. There must be expectations, but at the moment I'm relaxed about things. I cannot say now whether I will be nervous in the future, I guess I don't know," he told the Danish website spn.dk
"My philosophy is that of course there is a lot of pressure on us, with more to come, but we must be careful not to let it run away with us. If you work through it 100 percent and coach riders properly, it will come, even if it might not happen in the first week. "
Some of the pressure and expectations come from within the new team. Team manager Brian Nygaard recently stated that his goal is put both Andy and Fränk Schleck on the Tour de France podium. This year Andy Schleck was second, only 39 seconds behind winner Alberto Contador, while Fränk crashed out.
"When we talk about the Tour de France, it is clear that we have some riders who will go for the overall win,” Andersen said. “But I believe that we have a team that is so strong that we could help in many areas throughout the season."
Team sponsor and name still up in the air
Earlier this week, Nygaard sparked speculation about the team's possible main sponsor when he twitted: “Watch this space in future for the coolest team in cycling in 2011,” with a link to the Leopard True Racing site. So many people thought it was to be the team's name that Nygaard was forced to explain his remark.
“Leopard True Racing is the name of the project behind our new group. The name of this structure has nothing to do with the actual team,” he told the Luxembourg Wort newspaper. “Both are basically different things. I can assure you 100 percent that the team name for 2011 will not be Leopard True Racing.”
However, the fact that Nygaard has still not announced the team's title sponsor has led to further speculation, with Brian Holm wondering if there will be no commercial sponsor.
“It would not surprise me if people called it the Luxembourg Cycling Project or something like that. I think they get some sponsors for later, but so far I think it is more reminiscent of Cervelo and BMC," the HTC-Columbia directeur sportif suggested. “It is becoming more and more common that it's money men behind the teams than these old-fashioned main sponsors."
It is a very general trend that has been in cycling for the last few years,” Holm, who turned down a place with the new team this summer continued.
“Slipstream (now Garmin) did not really have a sponsor, but there was a money man behind it. The High Road team had Bob Stapleton behind it. Then there is BMC, which is a bicycle brand and has money man Andy Rihs from Switzerland in the background."