UPDATE: RadioShack & Nissan to sponsor Leopard-Trek

The French sports daily L'Equipe reported Monday that the team's financial backer, Luxembourg investor Flavio Becca, will announce later this month that the team will close at the end of this season.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Team Leopard-Trek's presentation last fall. Photo: Andrew Hood

Team Leopard-Trek announced Monday that RadioShack and Nissan would join the team as sponsors for the 2012 season, along with several top riders from the current RadioShack squad.

A later release by the RadioShack team confirmed the news and specified that RadioShack boss Johan Bruyneel will be the sporting director of the new organization.

Rumors of a merger between the two teams have been spreading over the last several weeks.

According to the Leopard team, Leopard will continue to hold its existing UCI World Tour License and the team will be rebranded as RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team.

“As we stated in January, 2011 would be our apprentice-year. We intend to improve upon our results. In modern cycling you cannot move forward without strong sponsors. It is in this respect that today is a further milestone in the development of this exciting young project, which has gained the trust of two well-established players in the world of professional cycling. I continue to believe in the bright future of our athletes and have high expectations for the performance of this team. This is a major strategic move for all partners involved,” said Team Leopard owner Flavio Becca.

The team will continue to call Luxembourg its home.

Time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara, Andy and Fränk Schleck will continue with the team for the 2012 and 2013 season, according to Becca.

They will be joined by RadioShack’s Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden, Matthew Busche, Jani Brajkovic, Nelson Oliveira and Robert Wagner according to the Leopard-Trek release. The RadioShack release also mentioned that Jesse Sergent, Ben King, Jakob Fuglsang and Haimar Zubeldia would continue with the organization.

Bruyneel said the new team would “dominate cycling for years to come.”

“With Team RadioShack, we won 30 races and dominated the most important American races in 2011. Now thanks to the presence of riders like Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers, we have the potential to win not only classics and major stage races but grand tours as well. We will form a team of 30 riders, in regulation with the UCI rules.

“All contracts with riders and staff that are already signed with Team Leopard-Trek or Team RadioShack will be respected. We are grateful our sponsors believe in this project. This is a great milestone for our team and our global sport.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.