The eleven riders of the Leopard-Trek Continental team and triathlete Dirk Bockel have been presented to the press at an event in Garage Losch, Luxembourg. The team will act as development squad for the WorldTour RadioShack-Nissan outfit, complementing and adding to the existing Bontrager-Livestrong team.
"We've always had a strong belief in Luxembourgish cycling and wanted to invest in it by obtaining a continental licence as well," said Flavio Becca. "With this young team we are able to structurally search for talent and provide experience and training to young and promising athletes, not only from Luxembourg but also from other countries."
RadioShack-Nissan general manager Johan Bruyneel added that the creation of the new team had come about spontaneously during the discussions over the merger with the former RadioShack and Leopard-Trek teams.
"We were convinced that the creation of a development team on the continental level was the ideal way to search for talented young riders and coach them so that one day maybe they can be part of the ProTeam."
"The team roster is built up around eleven riders, coming from seven different countries," says director Adriano Baffi. "The majority of them are still U23 riders, so this is really a project for the future. With Bob Jungels, Alexandr Pliuschin and Giorgio Brambilla we have three absolutely bright prospects to lead the team on the road. Our goal is for the 2012 season to be an ideal learning experience for each one of the riders. I am really excited to see them grow in terms of endurance and experience."
Uniquely, the team will also be supporting the ambitions of a triathlete in Dirk Bockel as Cyclingnews reported in January. Bockel, currently ranked 5th in the world in Ironman triathlon, has placed in the top ten each time he has raced in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, beginning with his successful debut at the Bejiing Olympics in 2008, where he raced for his home country of Luxembourg.
"This team is a beautiful project and it's amazing to work with such fine staff and equipment," said Bockel. "I'm confident that we will obtain some good results over the season. I am one of the leaders of this team, of course, but our main goal for this season is to give the younger riders race experience."
Leopard-Trek Continental for 2012: Bob Jungels (Lux), Alex Kirsch (Lux), Joel Zangerle (Lux), Pit Schlechter (Lux), Giorgio Brambilla (Ita), Eugenio Alafaci (Ita), Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda), Jesus Ezquerra (Spa), Oliver Hofstetter (Swi), Julian Kern (Ger), Fabio Silvestre (Por), Dirk Bockel (Lux)** .
Bockel's focus will be triathlon.