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Report card: RadioShack-Leopard

By:
Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor
Published:
December 19, 2013, 10:42,
Updated:
December 19, 2013, 10:43
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 19, 2013
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) on his way to victory in the time trial

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) on his way to victory in the time trial

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Cancellara and Horner land team's major wins

RadioShack-Leopard 2013
WorldTour Ranking: 4th
Win Count: 24
Top riders: Fabian Cancellara (7th), Chris Horner (13th), Jan Bakelants (40th), Giacomo Nizzolo (59th)
Grade: B-

RadioShack-Leopard took 24 wins during the 2013 season, with Fabian Cancellara proving to be the team's most prolific winner with six victories, while the unexpected Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner and the talented young rider Bob Jungels both finished on four wins each.

RadioShack was without the suspended Frank Schleck, as he served out a ban for his Xipamide positive at the 2012 Tour de France (he failed to reach an agreement with backer Flavio Becca when his ban expired in July), while Andy Schleck proved not to be a factor for most of this season. Considering his travails earlier in the year, he will hope that his 20th place finish at the Tour de France can at least be a building block for the season to come.

Hayden Roulston kicked off the 2013 season with the team's first victory at the road race national championships in New Zealand. Next up to the top step of the podium was Bob Jungels at the GP Nobili Rubinetterie-Coppa Citta di Stresa.

Then it was time for Cancellara to do his Spring Classics thing. March brought victories at E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders. The following week, Cancellara delivered again, this time at Paris-Roubaix to complete the second Flanders-Roubaix double of his career.

There wasn't much to write home about from the Tour of California, but crowd favorite Jens Voigt proved that age is not slowing him down too much when he won stage five from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach.

RadioShack-Leopard's most successful month was June, with 10 of the season's victories. Gregory Rast got the month off to a good start with a Tour de Suisse stage win, while Giacomo Nizzolo (stages two and three) and Bob Jungels (stage four) gave the team three wins in as many days at the Tour of Luxembourg.

The team's riders claimed an impressive five national titles, including Cancellara in the Swiss time trial, Jungels for the Luxembourg road race and time trial, Robert Kiserlovski with the Croatian road race and Stijn Devolder for the Belgian road race.

Despite the usual hype centered around Andy Schleck, hopes for the general classification at the Tour de France didn't pan out for the team. However, the race at least got off to a decent start with a stage win from Bastia to Ajaccio by Jan Bakelants, who also earned some extra attention with a few days in the yellow jersey.

Absent from the Tour de France, Cancellara proved he'd made a good decision to attend the Tour of Austria instead, when he won the stage seven time trial. Then Tony Gallopin took top honours in the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian WorldTour event in late July to continue the team's solid summer of success.

For American road cycling fans, August was like watching the Chris Horner reality comeback show. It began with the Tour of Utah, where he claimed the stage five win. Then it was onto Spain, where he won stages three and ten of the Vuelta a Espana and the overall, giving RadioShack its only Grand Tour win since entering the sport in 2010. Cancellara also pitched in to contribute to the team's Vuelta success with a time trial win in stage 11.

Finally, Bakelants again visited the top step of the podium after winning the Grand Prix de Wallonie at the end of the season.

What to expect in 2014

In 2014, the RadioShack-Leopard team undergoes another change of guise. The team will be known as the Trek Factory Racing Team and its WorldTour license will be owned by the Trek company, who purchased it from Flavio Becca, the Luxembourg-based backer of the original Leopard team. The team is keeping some of its riders, especially the young talented element but not all, as it brings in some new talent to drastically lower the average of the team for 2014.

The squad will have a particular focus on the Spring Classics where Fabian Cancellara will lead the line, supported by a solid unit that includes Stijn Devolder and Hayden Roulston.

Andy Schleck previously told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview, "The Classics and the Tour de France, they'll be the goals for next year. I hope to start the year well, but I don't know where yet. I might do more training camps and start racing a bit later." The team will be looking to both Andy and the returning Frank Schleck to regain their previous form and do well at major races.

Cancellara also told Cyclingnews that the second part of his season will be built around the 2014 world championships in Spain.

The following riders are staying with the squad: Matthew Busche, Fabian Cancellara, Stijn Devolder, Laurent Didier, Danilo Hondo, Markel Irizar, Bob Jungels, Robert Kiserlovski, Giacomo Nizzolo, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston, Andy Schleck, Jesse Sergent, Jens Voigt and Haimar Zubeldia.

Best signing

New signings for the team include Eugenio Alafaci, Julian David Arredondo, Fumiyuki Beppu, Fabio Felline, Fabio Andre Tomas Silvestre, Jasper Stuyven, Boy van Poppel, Danny van Poppel, Kristof Vandewalle, Calvin Watson and Riccardo Zoidl, while Frank Schleck will also return.

Asian fans will be excited to watch former national road and time trial champion Fumiyuki Beppu, who has raced at the WorldTour level since 2005.

Biggest loss

Several riders will not be returning with Trek Factory Racing in 2014, including Jan Bakelants, George Bennett, Tony Gallopin, Ben Hermans, Chris Horner, Ben King, Andreas Kloden, Tiago Jose Pinto Machado, Maxime Monfort, Nelson Oliveira and Thomas Rohregger.

Of those, Horner and Bakelants will be the most missed as they were responsible for a key part of the team's success in 2013. Bakelants is moving to Omega Pharma Quick Step, while Horner does not yet have a team for next season. Trek Factory Racing is hoping the Schlecks, Cancellara and the young talent will step up to fill the gap.

Men to watch

The van Poppel brothers are the sons of Jean-Paul van Poppel, who was a renowned sprinter and points classification winner at the 1987 Tour. Boy and Danny both already have a year of WorldTour experience and will provide depth for races finishing in sprint finales.

Big brother Boy has been racing for seven years as a pro while younger brother Danny van Poppel has already won the Tour de France's white young rider's jersey and finished third in the opening stage of this year's Tour. At 19, Danny was the youngest rider on a WorldTour roster in 2013 and became the youngest rider since World War II to compete in the Tour de France. 2014 will be his third year as a pro.

 

FabiquesAnquetillara 10 months ago
2 monuments and one grand tour, plus races like Sebastian, Harelbeke etc...yellow days at TdF, 4th in world tour in spite of financial problems, and what do you get from CN? B-. wow. just wow.
bike_boy 10 months ago
Yeah OGE is a much better team.
Milan Černý 10 months ago
completely agree. There is no team with a GT and two monuments. I will rate them A maybe A- because they dont have a high total number of wins. I dont get the idea behind scoring, It is neither based on the "value" of wins nor the amount of wins. It looks to me as a personal preference chart of CN.
Brian Handy 10 months ago
Seriously! Stellar season. Of course Spartacus was dominant in the Northern Classics, but he podiumed @ MSR too! The TdF was a big question mark going in, but Bakelants made it a big success too! Given his previous 18 months, I think the team was delighted in Andy's performance in July. Throw in a couple of good days for the Jensie and you'd have to say Radio Shack far outstripped expectations at the Tour. The Veulta didn't turn out too badly for them either. B-? That's some joke.
BackSeatRider 10 months ago
They gave BMC a B and they did far less this year than Radioshak. These grades are all over the place.
bike_boy 10 months ago
B= best? I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest the author has been eating to much chinese steaks.
bike_boy 10 months ago
opps speaking of idiots, i'm also one!! my reply is in the wrong spot. haha
Edward Winkler 10 months ago
Perhaps that B is for the upcoming season, based on the fact that Horner and Bakelants are both leaving and they were two of the top 3 riders on the team. Of course Frank Slack is coming back and should do soooo much for the team!
azureskies 10 months ago
Great to see TREK has kept their commitment towards patronizing top level cycling. Thanks Radioshack, Bruyneel and Lance for bringing sponsorship to cycling. Thanks to the Radioshack management for an exciting 2013 season. The Vuelta and roubaix flanders were just fantastic.
velogeek 10 months ago
RvV-PR double isn't worth what it used to be I guess? When de Peet did it, he was the second coming.
PatsyCline 10 months ago
They gave RSH the same score as Lotto? Let's rate this article. I give it a C-.