The Luxembourg continental team Leopard remains in the peloton for 2014. After Flavio Becca, Leopard's owner and financier, withdrew its support for the World Tour team Radioshack-Leopard and sold the license to Trek Bicycles, it was feared the development team would also vanish. Leopard S.A. however presented a team of twelve riders for 2014 this weekend.
"We want to stay true to the mission of a development team: offer opportunities to young cyclists to develop as athletes in a professional environment and to prepare them for a potential career in the UCI WorldTour. We will be able to offer them a balanced race programme and a good team spirit." team manager Markus Zingen said.
Piero Baffi, son of former pro rider Adriano Baffi, stays with the team. The same goes for four of the Luxembourg riders: Alex Kirsch, Tom Thill, Pit Schlechter and Joël Zangerle. Luxembourg U23 cyclo cross champion Massimo Morabito and Kevin Feiereisen join the team of which half of the riders have the Luxembourg nationality.
Other new signings are German road and cyclo cross junior champion Marco König, his compatriot Matthias Plarre, Dennis Coenen from Belgium, Patrick Olesen from Denmark and the 30-year old German rider Florian Salzinger who will serve as both sports director and road captain to the young team.
Since its foundation in 2012 five riders moved up to a World Tour team. Bob Jungels, Fabio Silvestre and Eugenio Alafaci ride with Trek Factory Racing in 2014 while Sean de Bie signed a two year contract with Lotto-Belisol. Julian Kern made his professional debut with AG2r-La Mondiale this season.
The team will ride in the UCI Europe Tour next season with emphasis on races in Luxembourg, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The continental team always gets a wildcard for the UCI 2.HC Tour of Luxembourg which takes place from 4 to 8 June in 2014.
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