Fränk Schleck will be reunited with brother Andy at the start of the 2014 UCI WorldTour season, with Trek Bicycle Corporation confirming today that the brothers have been signed up for the team it is putting together after buying out the licence currently held by Leopard SA, the Luxembourg-based company that launched its own team built around the siblings in 2011.
In an press release, the Wisconsin-based bike-maker’s vice-president, Joe Vadeboncoeur, said: “We’re very excited to add two riders that bring the race experience and professionalism that Andy and Fränk both have.
“We’ve built a strong relationship with them in the past few years, and we can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to accomplish together next season.”
Earlier this month, ahead of the expiry of Fränk’s 12-month partially backdated ban imposed as a result of his positive test for the diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France, RadioShack-Leopard stated that he would not be rejoining the team once he was free to race again.
The announcement the Schleck brothers will be joining Fabian Cancellara at the new outfit being put together by Trek – RadioShack-Leopard’s existing bike suppliers – means it will race next year with the same three star riders signed by Luxembourg-based businessman Flavio Becca when he founded Leopard towards the end of 2009.
Cancellara recovered from the multiple collarbone fracture he sustained at last year’s Tour of Flanders to become one of only two men to wear the yellow jersey at the 2012 Tour de France – the other was race winner, Sir Bradley Wiggins – and this year did the Flanders and Paris-Roubaix double for the second time.
It’s been a more challenging 12 months or so for the Schlecks.
Besides Fränk ‘s ban, since fracturing his sacrum in the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné Andy has looked a shadow of the man who three times secured the best young rider’s jersey in the Tour de France, and was awarded the overall win for 2010 after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title.
In this year’s race, he finished in 20th position overall – 41 minutes 46 seconds behind the man who won the yellow jersey, Team Sky’s Chris Froome.
Both are looking forward to being reunited at the same team, however, with Fränk also ackowledging the continued backing the bike manufacturer – which earlier this year severed ties with Lance Armstrong – offered him during his ban.
“Andy and I feel very similar about Trek,” he said.
“We have a good relationship and we hold Trek in our hearts.
“They supported me throughout the rough period I have been through - from the people on the road to the top management.
“We wanted to return this confidence and trust by signing on to their new project.”
Andy added: "I'm happy to re-sign with the Trek family and be a part of this project.
“The jersey of the team may be different but I'm happy that a large part of this team will remain intact.
"I'm really looking forward to the future with this team," he added.
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.