Luxembourg Continental cycling team Leopard Trek has signed top triathlete Dirk Bockel. The 35-year-old Luxembourger, fourth place finisher at the 2011 Hawaii Ironman, was happy to join the team directed by Adriano Baffi and receive support throughout the upcoming triathlon season.
"It's a dream come true. In triathlon, you're alone to manage your preparation and it's unbelievable to make ties with such a strong structure and to receive the support of Trek, the best bike manufacturer in the world. I will be able to concentrate even more on my work and that will certainly translate into even better performances," Bockel told AFP.
The new recruit will continue to focus on triathlon within the team, preparing for the Worlds in Kona, Hawaii, on October 13. "Kona is my Tour de France," he continued. "Having finished fourth last year, I know I can win it. Abu Dhabi (on March 3) is my first objective."
RadioShack-Nissan team manager Johan Bruyneel was excited about the new deal. "The bridge between cycling and triathlon will be fascinating for all parties," the Belgian commented. "For the two cycling teams that we direct, for Dirk as a triathlete and, last but not least, for our partner Trek. The common factor here is technology. Triathlon has become an important showroom for bike manufacturers. Trek has seen the number of its bikes used at the 2011 Worlds in Hawaii increase by 70 percent."
Bockel is the fifth Luxembourger to join the Continental team, whose leader Bob Jungels will be heading the outfit at cycling races. For Flavio Becca, owner of the Leopard Trek team, the deal is "a unique chance to promote Luxembourg sport. This was an opportunity that we could not miss."