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Brice Feillu (Leopard Trek)
Still no confirmation from either team management
The rumours linking up Luxembourg team Leopard Trek with American outfit RadioShack, also equipped by Trek, continue to persist. On Monday, French newspaper L'Equipe has claimed that eleven Leopard Trek riders still under contract for next season have been asked to look for another employer.
Indeed, with a limit of 30 riders per ProTeam and 13 riders also still under contract with Johan Bruyneel for 2012, at least ten riders will need to be let go if the two teams decide to merge.
According to L'Equipe, eleven riders on the Leopard Trek team managed by Brian Nygaard have been asked to look for another squad for next season, including Brice Feillu, Fabian Wegmann, Thomas Rohregger, Martin Mortensen, Martin Pedersen, Tom Stamsnijer, Bruno Pirès, Anders Lund and Davide Vigano. Moreover, the contract of German veteran Jens Voigt runs out at the end of this year.
Although there is still no official confirmation of the merger, the paper also maintains that current Leopard Trek manager Nygaard will return to his former role as a press officer next year, this time working for the new-born Australian team GreenEdge.
"In 2012, RadioShack, with the financial support of Trek and Nissan, should continue its adventures with the Schleck brothers as leaders," wrote L'Equipe journalist Manuel Martinez. "Becca will be part of the project but should not invest more than half of the budget he has personally put in this year."
RadioShack manager Bruyneel is also maintaining his silence, but is apparently back at the Vuelta a España after a trip to Luxembourg last week. While one of his team leaders, Levi Leipheimer, will be riding for Belgian team Quick Step next year, Frenchman Geoffroy Lequatre and Portuguese rider Sergio Paulinho - whose contracts run out at the end of the season - will allegedly also have to leave.
"At the end of the month of September, Flavio Becca, patron of the first Luxembourger professional team, should be announcing the dissolution of the sports company," added the paper.