WATERLOO, WI (BRAIN) — Next season Trek Bicycle will own the WorldTour team it has sponsored and supplied for the last three years.
The company has agreed with Luxembourg-based team owner Leopard SA to take over ownership of the UCI ProTour license of the team currently known as RadioShack Leopard Trek. Trek will use the license to create a new team next season. The company said it has retained current team manager Luca Guercilena and is negotiating to keep "several marquee athletes" and hopes to retain a large part of the team's current roster.
The team currently includes Swiss Classics and time trial legend Fabian Cancellara, Luxembourg brothers Frank and Andy Schleck and fan-favorite hard man, Jens Voigt, among others.
"We're thrilled to be able to reach this agreement with Leopard," said Trek VP Joe Vadeboncoeur. "We will have the ability to create more and better marketing content. The riders' nationalities represent our major markets and can become an army of ambassadors at events across the world. We can have better integration into new product development and the ability for hospitality and activation at events.”
Trek joins Cannondale and BMC as bike brands that own ProTour teams. This team was created after the merger of the RadioShack-Nissan squad — originally built around Lance Armstrong — with the Leopard-Trek team prior to the 2012 season. Nissan ended its sponsorship after the 2012 season and RadioShack announced in March that it would end its sponsorship at the end of this season.
"I am proud to hand over this project to the people at Trek Bicycle, who have been a very dependable and loyal partner over the past three years,” said Leopard owner Flavio Becca.
“When we started in the summer of 2010 we had a blank canvas in our hands, a puzzle. Now, three seasons later, we have a team that has won some of the biggest races of cycling … I believe cycling has entered a new era, in which a bike manufacturer like Trek Bicycle takes on full ownership of a team. I have taken a lot of pleasure in running this project and I wish the team and all its members a bright future."