RadioShack-Leopard directeur sportif Dirk Demol is confident that Luca Guercilena will keep the majority of the team together despite speculation mounting over the squad’s future. Cyclingnews understands that Trek is keen to keep working with Fabian Cancellara in particular but that Flavio Becca is facing several legal cases, one of which involves a loan Leopard received from the team’s former manager Johan Bruyneel.
It was reported in Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt that Flavio Becca is set to sell the team’s WorldTour licence and that Trek, the team’s bike supplier, will step up and build the team around Fabian Cancellara and Andy Schleck.
Trek has a contract with the team for 2014 but would need to secure Becca's WorldTour licence if it wants any current contracts with riders to be valid.
However, Tageblatt speculates that Fränk Schleck could be fired from the team by Becca in the coming weeks. The rider is set to return from a ban next month after testing positive for Xipamide in last year’s Tour de France.
Firing Fränk Schleck would be a contentious move given that Andy has stated that he could never ride on a different team to his brother.
Both Schlecks have contracts with the team for next year and Demol told Cyclingnews that the plans were to keep the majority of the team together, including both Schleck brothers.
“I’m still waiting for news but we’re very optimistic. I’m not concerned, I’m confident that we’ll go on. I’ve not spoken to the riders but we’re confident and that’s all I can say at the moment. I’ve not spoken to Becca but Luca is working on it and we’re hopeful. We’ve got a good group,” Demol told Cyclingnews.
“It’s the beginning of June now and it would be nice if it was all sorted soon. The sooner the better, obviously.
“There are a lot of rumours going around but I know that we want to keep this group of riders together, as many of them as possible and that includes the Schlecks because they have a contract for next year already.”
The situation becomes more complex with the loan Becca accepted from Bruyneel during the 2012 season. Bruyneel managed the squad until October 2012 when he was dismissed due to his case with USADA. Before Bruyneel left the team, Cyclingnews understands that Becca accepted a 1.5 million Euro loan from him in order to cover missing wages within the team. That loan has not been returned, with legal proceedings now close to conclusion. Bruyneel had brought with him 15 million USD per year to the squad already.
Bruyneel would not comment on the matter when Cyclingnews contacted him, while Becca has not answered several calls.