Trek will reportedly take over RadioShack Leopard’s WorldTour licence, currently held by Luxembourg-based businessman Flavio Becca through his Leopard SA company. According to Luxembourg newspaper Tagelblatt, the US-based bicycle brand, which supplies the team’s bikes, will assume the licence from 2014 onwards, but there will be no place for Fränk Schleck.
The 33-year-old is banned until July after testing positive for the diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France, and reportedly will not be rejoining RadioShack-Loepard.
Staying at the team for 2014, says Tageblatt, are its other two star riders, Andy Schleck, under contract till the end of that year, and Fabian Cancellara, the latter having previously been linked with a move to Swiss Professional Continental outfit, IAM Cycling.
Trek’s management is said to want to build on the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix champion’s expertise in the Classics and as team captain, Cancellara will have an influence on its direction and priorities.
Making its debut in 2010 as Leopard Trek, the team was merged with RadioShack Nissan, also supplied by Trek, at the end of the 2011 season.
Besides Fränk Schleck’s ban, the team has also had to deal with the fallout of the Lance Armstrong scandal.
The Texan rode with RadioShack during 2010 and early 2011, and his former manager at US Postal and Astana, Johan Bruyneel, was sacked by RadioShack Leopard last year following publication of the United States Anti Doping Agency’s Reasoned Decision in the Armstrong case.
Nissan announced last December it was terminating its sponsorship, removing its branding but continuing to honour financial commitments through to the end of the current season.
RadioShack revealed in March that it would not be extending its sponsorship beyond the end of 2013.
Should the report prove accurate, Trek will join Cannondale and BMC Racing as bike brands that act as headline sponsor to a top-flight team without a co-sponsor appearing in the name.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.