RadioShack Nissan announces full WorldTour roster
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Monday, December 05, 2011

RadioShack Nissan announces full WorldTour roster

by Ben Atkins at 1:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Spring Classics
 
Thirty riders for “merger” of 2011 Luxembourg and US teams; not just about the Tour de France for Schleck brothers

radioshack nissanJust minutes after the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that the RadioShack-Nissan team had been granted WorldTour registration for 2012, the team officially announced its full roster of riders. The team, which is made up of a coming together of the resources of the 2011 Leopard Trek and RadioShack teams, will hold the ProTeam license of the former even though it is taking on the general manager of the latter in Johan Bruyneel.

Both teams were built around the ambitions of Tour de France stars, but neither was able to achieve their ambitions in 2011. Andy and Fränk Schleck of Leopard Trek stood either side of Cadel Evans on the Paris podium, but RadioShack’s Lance Armstrong’s final appearance in the race – in 2010 – was plagued by crashes, which continued to haunt its riders into this year’s edition.

oliver zaugg“In our inaugural season we had many podium places in the classics and Tour de France. Oliver Zaugg completed the season with a spectacular Tour of Lombardy victory and we secured third place in the UCI World Tour ranking,” said Leopard Trek owner – and major backer – Flavio Becca. “But like any owner, whether it is in business or sports, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the team. Johan Bruyneel is a leader who has a proven record of unparalleled success. He maximizes talent, employs winning strategies and motivates riders and staff to achieve greatness. I am confident that Johan is the best person for our team.”

Bruyneel himself is relishing the challenge, having guided Armstrong to all seven of his Tour crowns, as well as Alberto Contador to the first two of his. The task of cutting the two teams’ rosters down to just one was not an easy task to perform though.

“I’ve never been one to shy away from challenges so when I was presented with this opportunity, I immediately saw the potential of the idea,” said the Belgian. “We collectively decided it was a win-win partnership for all parties. After that, we became focused on putting together thirty riders, which was a tougher task than I’ve ever experienced in the past.

“Combining Team RadioShack riders that we made an agreement with for 2012, with existing Leopard Trek riders resulted in 42 riders, twelve over the maximum limit for WorldTour teams,” he explained. “We worked hard to ensure that every rider’s contract was honoured and that each one had a place to ride in 2012; if not with Radioshack Nissan Trek, then with another professional cycling team.

“With the roster of 30 riders finalized,” he added, “we can now spend all our time and effort in preparing this group for the challenges that lie ahead.”

[NB The team refers to itself as RadioShack Nissan Trek, but UCI regulation 2.15.050 stipulates that a team may be named after its two principle sponsors; it is therefore officially registered as RadioShack Nissan – ed]

It’s not just about the Tour de France

frank schleckFränk Schleck’s third place in the Tour this year was his first appearance on the final podium, despite having worn the yellow jersey in the races latter stages in the past. His younger brother Andy’s second place was his third in succession, but the Luxembourg champion emphasised that there is, and will be, more to the team than just one race.

“We have riders that can perform in the mountains, on the flats, in the sprints, in time-trials,” the elder Schleck explained. “When I look at all the names and think about all the victories these riders have achieved in the past, I can’t help but be filled with excitement and optimism. After only the first meeting in October, it was clear that this group is very motivated to achieve success, not only at one race, but throughout the season.

“Our strength does not lie in any one individual, but rather the collective team,” he added. “I think that is what will benefit us the most as we battle our competitors.”

One of the biggest of the dozen names to join the team from the RadioShack side is US veteran Chris Horner. The forty-year-old enjoyed an excellent spring, which was crowned by victory in the Tour of California, but a serious crash in the Tour de France saw him abandon the race after the first week and effectively ended his season.

“2011 had its highs and lows for me,” Horner said. “Certainly the crash at the Tour was the lowest point, but I also had one of my career highlights when I won the Amgen Tour of California. That was a very important race not only for me, but also our sponsors and I imagine with our strong American ties that the goal remains the same in 2012.

“I may be forty years old,” he added defiantly, “but I believe I have the perfect combination to achieve top results – the motivation of a neo-pro combined with the experiences of a seasoned rider.”

In addition to a bevy of Tour riders, RadioShack Nissan also boasts arguably the strongest classics rider in the current generation in Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss champion looked to be about to dominate the cobbled spring this year, but found himself outnumbered by other teams when it mattered; this year he hopes that tings will be different.

“I’m a rider that puts a lot of expectations on myself to win,” he explained. “So it was tough for me last year when I didn’t win Flanders or Roubaix. Those experiences have made me even more motivated and stronger, both physically and mentally. Besides strong men like Robert Wagner and Joost Posthuma, we’ve added Hayden Roulston [from HTC-Highroad] and my fellow countryman and friend Gregory Rast [from RadioShack] to the group of riders for the cobblestone classics.

“And in the car we’ll have Dirk Demol [also from RadioShack], who was a Paris-Roubaix winner himself [in 1988 – ed],” he added. “The classics are still a few months away, but I have no reason not to be confident.”

The RadioShack Nissan team is currently attending its first training camp of the winter in Calpe, Spain. The first competitive outing for the team will be the Tour Down Under, in Australia on January 15th to 22nd.

Full RadioShack Nissan 2012 roster
Jan Bakelants (BEL), Daniele Bennati (ITA), George Bennett (NZL), Matthew Busche (USA), Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Laurent Didier (LUX), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Tony Gallopin (FRA), Linus Gerdemann (GER), Ben Hermans (BEL), Chris Horner (USA), Markel Irizar (ESP), Ben King (USA), Andreas Klöden (GER), Tiago Machado (POR), Maxime Monfort (BEL), Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA), Nelson Oliveira (POR), Yaroslav Popovych (UKR), Joost Posthuma (NED), Gregory Rast (SUI), Thomas Rohregger (AUT), Hayden Roulston (NZL), Andy Schleck (LUX), Fränk Schleck (LUX), Jesse Sergent (NZL), Jens Voigt (GER), Robert Wagner (GER), Oliver Zaugg (SUI), Haimar Zubeldia (ESP)

General Manager
Johan Bruyneel

Team Directors
Kim Andersen, José Azevedo, Dirk Demol, Alain Gallopin, Luca Guercilena & Lars Michaelsen

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