UPDATED: Bruyneel hails announcement as a "great milestone" in cycling
Leopard announced on Monday that RadioShack and Nissan are joining the Leopard Trek WorldTour team as sponsors for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Leopard will continue to hold its existing UCI WorldTour License and the team will be re-branded as RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team as of next year.
"As we stated in January, 2011 would be our apprentice-year," said Team Leopard owner Flavio Becca in a press release. "We intend to improve upon our results. In modern cycling you cannot move forward without strong sponsors.
"It is in this respect that today is a further milestone in the development of this exciting young project, which has gained the trust of two well-established players in the world of professional cycling. I continue to believe in the bright future of our athletes and have high expectations for the performance of this team. This is a major strategic move for all partners involved."
Time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara as well as Andy and Fränk Schleck will continue to lead the team in its plans for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. While the complete roster has not been announced, they will be joined by Amgen Tour of California champion Chris Horner, two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden, Haimar Zubeldia, and national champions Matthew Busche, Jani Brajkovic, Nelson Oliveira and neo-pros Jesse Sergent and Ben King from RadioShack as well as Robert Wagner, Jakob Fuglsang and Daniele Bennati from Leopard Trek. The team will continue to be based in Luxembourg. Further details in regards to staffing and rosters will be announced on September 15.
In a statement later released by RadioShack, it was confirmed that the team will hold a license in with all marketing operations coming out of Austin, Texas by CSE Pro Cycling LLC, with all sporting operations managed by Johan Bruyneel Sports Management in both Belgium and Luxembourg.
"With our sponsors' continuing commitment and the professionalism of our riders, I'm confident that RadioShack-Nissan-Trek will dominate cycling for years to come," said Johan Bruyneel in the statement. "With Team RadioShack, we won 30 races and dominated the most important American races in 2011. Now thanks to the presence of riders like Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers, we have the potential to win not only Classics and major stage races but Grand Tours as well. We will form a team of 30 riders, in regulation with the UCI rules. All contracts with riders and staff that are already signed with Team Leopard-Trek or Team RadioShack will be respected. We are grateful our sponsors believe in this project. This is a great milestone for our team and our global sport."
Meantime, RadioShack's arrangement with Lance Armstrong's cancer charity Livestrong will continue with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.
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