Cycling News: Leopard Trek and RadioShack Merge

LT 2

Following a week of rumors, cycling teams RadioShack and Leopard Trek made it official yesterday. The two teams, already rich in talent, are joining forces, to create what Outside Magazine calls a superteam. The new roster will include Leopard vets Andy and Frank Schleck of course, along with time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, who will all continue on through the 2013 season. They’ll be joined by RadioShack riders Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden, Matthew Busche, Jani Brajkovic, Nelson Oliveira and Robert Wagner, amongst others. The roster will be a full 30-man squad as is the standard under the Cycling Union’s rules.

The team will also take on an additional sponsor in the form of Nissan, and will be re-branded as the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team. The new squad will officially call Luxembourg home, which is where the Schleck’s are from and Leopard-Trek was chartered.

Perhaps most interesting of all is that Johan Bruyneel will take over the reigns on this new team. Bruyneel is the man who led Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador to ten Tour de France titles, and his experience will go a long way with the new team as well. The Schlecks have to be excited about the possibility of working with Bruyneel and possibly earning themselves a Tour win at long last.

RadioShack and Leopard-Trek aren’t the only teams making headlines however, as the Omega Pharma-Lotto and QuickStep have also joined forces to create the new Omega Pharma-QuickStep team. They’ll boast such veterans as Tom Bonnen, Syvain Chavanel, and Andre Greipel in their stable. Not resting on their laurels, Team BMC, fresh off their win of Le Tour under Cadel Evans, have added rider of the year Philippe Gilbert to their squad, while the new GreenEdge Cycling team gets ready to hit the road with an all-Aussie squad.

Needless to say, the landscape in professional cycling will be dramatically altered next year. These “superteams” will be tough to compete with for sure, but they still have to find the right mix of chemistry and hope that their strategies can come to fruition, not to mention keeping all the riders healthy as well. It is an interesting turn for the sport to say the least.

Kraig Becker

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