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Leopard changes spots

News Current affairs 06.09.2011 Duncan Roberts
Photo: Luc Deflorenne (archives)

Sport: Owner Flavio Becca has announced that the Luxembourg-based pro-cycling team will be rebranded as the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team.

Leopard Trek reacted quickly to yesterday’s reports in l’Equipe suggesting it would cease operations and that its top riders – the brothers Andy and Fränk Schleck – would join radio Shack. In fact, the team will remain based in Luxembourg but will change its name. US electronics retailer Radio Shack and Japanese motor vehicle manufacturer Nissan join bike maker Trek as the title sponsors.

In a statement to the press, team owner Flavio Becca (picture here at the Leopard Trek launch in January) said that it had always been the intention to see 2011 as an “apprentice-year”. He continued: “We intend to improve upon our results. In modern cycling you cannot move forward without strong sponsors. It is in this respect that today is a further milestone in the development of this exciting young project, which has gained the trust of two well-established players in the world of professional cycling.”

The Schleck brothers, who finished second and third in this year’s Tour de France, and time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara remain the team’s star riders. They are joined by Tour of California champion Chris Horner and two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden, as well as Matthew Busche, Jani Brajkovic, Nelson Oliveira and Robert Wagner, who are all national champions in their respective countries. “I continue to believe in the bright future of our athletes and have high expectations for the performance of this team,” said Becca.