By Nick Bull
Trek today confirmed that it has bought the WorldTour licence of RadioShack-Leopard and will create a new team for the 2014 season.
In an announcement made this afternoon, the American bicycle manufacturer confirmed that it is working to "conserve a large part of the existing team"...Trek is currently engaged in negotiations with several marquee athletes that will be announced shortly"
Persuading this year's Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara to stay is likely to be one of the key discussions; the Swiss rider has been linked to Pro Continental squad IAM Cycling throughout 2013. Current manager Luca Guercilena will continue to oversee the team's operations.
"We're thrilled to be able to reach this agreement with Leopard," said Trek vice president Joe Vadeboncoeur. "The team has established a great foundation of staff and athletes. Great Athletes Ride Trek is something we are incredibly passionate about and we are looking forward to everything the future holds with this new team.
"We will have the ability to create more and better marketing content. The rider's nationalities represent our major markets and become an army of ambassadors at events all over the world. We can have better integration into new product development and the ability for hospitality and activation at events."
Leopard, the holding company of the current team's licence, will end its affiliation with the team at the end of the year.
"I am proud to hand over this project to the people at Trek Bicycle, who have been a very dependable and loyal partner over the past three years" said Leopard CEO Flavio Becca. "When we started in the summer of 2010 we had a blank canvas in our hands, a puzzle. Now, three seasons later, we have a team that has won some of the biggest races of cycling with Fabian Cancellara and put two Schleck brothers from Luxembourg together on the podium of the Tour de France.
"I have taken a lot of pleasure in running this project and I wish the team and all its members a bright future."
Trek's move comes nearly a year after rival American manafacturer Cannondale announced it was taking over the title sponsorship of the Liquigas team for 2013.
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