Trek is rebuilding RadioShack-Leopard for next season
after acquiring the team’s WorldTour licence. The American bike manufacturer renewed Fabian Cancellara’s contract on Tuesday, which will form the base of its new team.
“The principle group will be what we have now, but there will be changes,” General Manager Luca Guercilena told Cycling Weekly “We’re on the market, but the Cancellara classics group will be at the centre of the team.”
Instead of the usual RadioShack communication, and perhaps in light of its recent changes, Trek sent out a press release about Cancellara two days ago. It confirmed that the team signed Cancellara for three more years, through 2016.
“I think it’s hard to overestimate the importance and necessity of a company like Trek taking on such a huge role in cycling,” Cancellara said in a press release. “[Trek] shows courage and a big sense of responsibility… I want to be part of this new project.”
Guercilena explained that Trek is different from the team’s former sponsors because it has its feet in the sport. RadioShack, Nissan and most recently, businessman Flavio Becca pulled out for reasons connected to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that involved former team general manager, Johan Bruyneel.
“Trek knows the sport. They work in the environment, they want to remain in the environment,” Guercilena added.
“They are creating a medium-term project, at the least. This is an advantage and is similar to other sports, with deals made by people who have a desire to stay in the environment. It’s an advantage for everyone.”
Eyes on Spartacus
Guercilena stepped up from sports director to general manager this winter. He helped turn the team around and made it attractive to sponsors.
Besides Cancellara, who won both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, youngsters like Bob Jungels and Giacomo Nizzolo are winning.
“I think we showed in the last months that this group functions,” Guercilena said.
“We’ve had wins with [Gregory] Rast, Jungles, Nizzolo, [Stijn] Devolder and now Jan Bakelants. It shows that we are capable as a group and our system works.”
Trek’s attention is on the classics group. Its vice president, Joe Vadeboncoeur said in Tuesday’s press release, “We’re looking to build a team that is a perennial force in the classics.”
It will also need to think about supporting its stage race stars.
Guercilena has brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck on contract through 2014. Both have been on the podium in the Tour de France, with Andy claiming the title in 2010 after Alberto Contador’s doping positive.
Andy returned to the Tour this year after a difficult 2012 stemming from a sacrum fracture in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He aims for a stage win and if possible, a good overall result.
Fränk tested positive for doping last year, but after the one-year doping suspension ends this month he will be able to race again. Guercilena said that the team would decide on his schedule soon.
Cancellara signs with Trek for 2014