Leopard-Trek and Radioshack will merge to form a new team next season.
The new outfit, to be named Radioshack-Nissan-Trek, will use Leopard-Trek’s existing WorldTour licence and will be based in Luxembourg, where the Schleck brothers’ team currently operates.
“Leopard announces that RadioShack and Nissan are joining the Leopard-Trek World Tour Team as sponsors for the 2012 and 2013 seasons,” read a Leopard-Trek statement.
Current Radioshack boss Johan Bruyneel – the mastermind behind eight Tour de France victories; seven with Lance Armstrong and one with Alberto Contador – will manage the team.
Andy and Frank Schleck, four-time world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, Tour of California champion Chris Horner, two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden, all-rounder Jakob Fuglsang, sprinter Daniele Bennati and neo-pros Jesse Sergent and Ben King are among the riders confirmed on the 2012 roster.
“With our sponsors’ continuing commitment and the professionalism of our riders, I’m confident that RadioShack-Nissan-Trek will dominate cycling for years to come,” said Bruyneel.
“With Team RadioShack, we won 30 races and dominated the most important American races in 2011. Now thanks to the presence of riders like Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers, we have the potential to win not only Classics and major stage races but Grand Tours as well.
Together RadioShack and Leopard-Trek have approximately 40 riders contracted for next season, meaning some will inevitably forced to find a home in order for the new team to meet the UCI’s 30-rider limit.
“We will form a team of 30 riders, in regulation with the UCI rules,” added Bruyneel. “All contracts with riders and staff that are already signed with Team Leopard-Trek or Team RadioShack will be respected.”
The Leopard-Trek team, formed ahead of the current season, is backed by Luxembourg businessman Flavio Becca, who has since struggled to find a corporate financial backer for the squad.
Becca said: “As we stated in January, 2011 would be our apprentice-year. 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.
“I continue to believe in the bright future of our athletes and have high expectations for the performance of this team. This is a major strategic move for all partners involved.”