Radio Shack is still open
RadioShack-Nissan-Trek causes excitement
The agreement between the parties involved was concluded for two years. RadioShack and Leopard-Trek will merge, with Nissan on board as the new name sponsor.
"We are grateful that our sponsors trust this project. This is a milestone for our team and our sport," said RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel in a press release: "All contracts with drivers and employees who are already with the Leopard-Trek team or Team RadioShack are closed. "
A team is to be built around the two Schleck brothers Andy and Franck and time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara that can dominate almost all races. So far it has been announced that Andreas Klöden and the German champion Robert Wagner will have their place in the new team. Then there are the American Christopher Horner, the Slovenian Janez Brajkovic and the Portuguese Nelson Oliveira, the all-rounders Jakob Fuglsang and Haimar Zubeldia as well as the talents Jesse Sergent and Ben King. As a sprinter, Daniele Bennati should ensure victories. RadioShack-Nissan-Trek intends to announce further personal details on September 15th.
With the merger, the two teams are reacting to BMC-Racing's purchasing policy. Thanks to the financially potent main sponsor Andy Rhis, the team around Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has already been prominently strengthened with road world champion Thor Hushovd and the Ardennes king Philippe Gilbert. So far, the Swiss racing team has got all the drivers it wanted to sign.
And there is also a threat of further mergers. The purely Belgian team Quick Step - Omega is not yet official, but the final formalities of the merger should no longer represent any hurdles. The previous partner of OmegaPharma - Lotto - will in any case contest the new season together with the bike manufacturer Ridley.
The trend is apparently more and more that the top drivers will concentrate on a few large teams. A development that is viewed critically by those involved. It is feared that the new super teams could dominate the races too much. "This is not good for the sport, not good for the tension," said Rolf Aldag, until the end of the year sports director at the disintegrating racing team HTC-Highroad, the sports information service (SID). "A couple of overfunded teams make it difficult for smaller teams."
The former professional also sees complicity in the way the associations dealt with Alberto Contador's positive doping test. "We were able to give a clear answer to the subject of doping, but we have no answer to the 2010 Tour winner," said Aldag about the talks with potential donors and therefore criticized the associations' attitude again. "The cycling authorities have failed," the 43-year-old told the SID. There are no civil proceedings that drag on for two and a half years. "It is possible that we will not have a solution until the beginning of 2012. That cannot be".
Due to the pending proceedings and the lack of a final verdict, the teams are having difficulty finding sponsors. Even HTC-Highroad, by far the best team on the WorldTour in terms of success in the 2010 season, could not find a successor. And Leopard Trek is also said to be affected. Allegedly interested sponsors canceled the patron Falvio Becca precisely because of the Contador case. Becca, who has made a fortune with real estate in Luxembourg, is determined to win the Tour de France with one of his drivers, but does not want to pay for it alone. So far, he has not found any comrades-in-arms, so now the merger takes place.
But Becca is also giving power out of hand. Because the new team should be significantly shaped by RadioShack. It has already been announced that all marketing measures will be controlled from Austin (Texas). And with Bruyneel, a RadioShack man will be responsible for the sport.
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