RadioShack won’t renew sponsorship of WorldTour team for 2014
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

RadioShack won’t renew sponsorship of WorldTour team for 2014

by VeloNation Press at 5:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
L’Equipe quotes electronics retailer as saying it won’t extend current backing

RadioShack Citing difficult financial matters plus a new direction in its sales, the RadioShack electronics retailer has told l’Equipe that it won’t continue to sponsor the WorldTour team after its current contract ends this year.

The American company is currently the title sponsor of the RadioShack Leopard team, a squad which came together when Johan Bruyneel and several riders moved over from RadioShack Nissan to the Leopard Trek setup at the end of the 2011 season.

At the time it was predicted that the squad would dominate world cycling, with riders such as Fabian Cancellara plus Andy and Frank Schleck being joined by others such as Chris Horner, Andreas Klöden and several promising young riders.

However the expected strong season didn’t happen. Cancellara crashed out of the Classics and the Olympic road race and was generally below his usual level due to injury. Frank Schleck tested positive in the Tour de France, and Andy Schleck – who had been second, first and second in the previous three Tours – missed the race altogether due to a pelvic fracture he sustained in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Horner and Klöden also had quiet seasons, and the team finished only twelve in the WorldTour standings.

In addition to that, Bruyneel was charged with serious doping offences by the US Anti Doping Agency and was asked to leave his position as general manager.

According to L’Equipe, RadioShack has justified its decision on the basis of a loss of $ 21 million incurred in the second quarter of 2012, as well as an intention to focus its activities on the Asian market.

The Lance Armstrong doping scandal and Schleck’s positive have also been factors in the decision. Another of the team’s sponsors, Nissan, requested that its name no longer be associated with the squad, even though it is continuing to honour its financial obligations.

Team owner Flavio Becca was vocal last year about the team’s lack of success, and more recently has been critical of Schleck as he tries to get back to decent racing condition. He has suggested that the Luxembourg rider needs to be more professional and to work harder.

L’Equipe has claimed that rumours are becoming more persistent that the team could stop at the end of the year.

However if the team has a strong Classics campaign and a good Tour de France, its value would undoubtedly rise to Becca and also for potential new sponsors.


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