By Gregor Brown
RadioShack is undergoing major changes ahead of next season: a US licence, new management and fresh-faced riders. And the name changes to reflect the new sponsor, Trek Factory Racing.
"Your new team," reads the message on Trekfactoryracing.com. "Coming January 10."
RadioShack's name disappears at the end of the year but the new team is already rolling. It met last month in Belgium for its first official camp and began planning. The basics stay the same - Fabian Cancellara for the Classics, and Fränk and Andy Schleck for the Tour de France - but that is about it.
"The team changed a lot," General Manager Luca Guercilena told Cycling Weekly.
"We confirmed the classics group around Fabian but we have important riders from 2013 who are no longer with us. Taking away the classics group and Fränk and Andy, the rest of our riders are young and new. We have an eye on their future and we are going to work with them to develop their best characteristics."
The Italian began his pro cycling career via the Mapei Training Centre and managed its development team, which included Cancellara. He began in team Leopard-Trek for 2011 thinking that he would simply create the riders' training programmes and direct at the Italian races. That changed quickly.
Johan Bruyneel brought in sponsor RadioShack and replaced Brian Nygaard as general manager. US investigators, however, identified Bruyneel as one of the key figures in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the team fired him in October 2012. Then team owner, Flavio Becca looked to Guercilena.
"It was clearly a hard year," Guercilena added. "I went from coaching to managing a team in all of its situations. It's clear that it took a big effort. For example, I was away from home nearly 240 days this year. However, I was satisfied on both the sporting and management level. We won a lot of great races and we succeeded in wooing Trek to sustain the team."
Before the Tour de France, Becca announced that he sold his Luxembourg-registered team to Trek. The American bicycle manufacturer bought the team and registered it at home. Cancellara and the Schlecks remain, but many cyclists left or failed to receive a contract renewal.
Tour star, Jan Bakelants joined Omega Pharma and classics riders, Tony Gallopin and Maxime Monfort switched to Lotto. Bruyneel's former riders - Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden, Tiago Machado and Nelson Oliveira - and sports director José Azevedo also left.
Overall, 11 riders leave and 11 join for 2014. The fresh faces include Colombian Julián Arredondo (this year's Tour of Langkawi winner), Austrian Riccardo Zoidl (Tour of Austria) and Belgian Jasper Stuyven (Volta ao Alentejo). Guercilena brought six of the 11 from the amateur ranks and promoted two of those from the third division feeder team.
"We were working with a new team. It was almost completely restructured," Guercilena added. "We formed a great working group, which is pleasing because we working for the future of these guys."
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