Leopard Trek team remains in 2014, becomes Leopard Development squad
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Leopard Trek team remains in 2014, becomes Leopard Development squad

by VeloNation Press at 7:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Team will continue to develop young talent from Luxembourg and elsewhere

Bob JungelsAlthough Flavio Becca’s withdrawal as backer for the joint RadioShack Leopard and Leopard Trek team project had raised uncertainty about the future of the latter, the Leopard SA holding company for the two entities has announced that the development team will indeed continue in the 2014 season.

The squad, which helped bring through promising young riders and acted as a feeder for the WorldTour team, will exist as a UCI Continental team in 2014.

It will comprise twelve riders, of which half of those will be from Luxembourg. In addition to that, half of the team will be of the under 23 age group. It will maintain a connection and collaboration with the Luxembourg national federation, and thus should help the country’s riders to continue to come through.

An emphasis will continue to be placed upon the balance between riders coming through from the junior ranks and those with a little more experience.

The best known of those who was developed by the team is Bob Jungels [pictured], regarded by many as perhaps the most talented of the young Luxembourg talents. After riding there in 2012 he graduated to the RadioShack Leopard squad this season and won the Elite national road and time trial titles, the Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie plus a stage in the Tour de Luxembourg.

The 2014 incarnation of the squad will compete primarily in Luxembourg, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Its programme will mostly be based in Europe.

Five riders from the current squad will remain on board, namely the Luxembourg competitors Alex Kirsch, Pit Schlechter, Tom Thill and Joël Zangerle, plus the Italian Piero Baffi.

There are seven newcomers, namely German junior cyclocross and road race champion Marco König, German “Bundesliga” overall victor Matthias Plarre, Luxembourg’s under 23 cyclo cross champion Massimo Morabito, compatriot Kevin Feiereisen, a sprinter and track rider, the Belgian all rounder Dennis Coenen, the Danish climber Patrick Olesen and the thirty year old German Florian Salzinger. He has been described as the most experienced rider on the team and in addition to racing, he will also have a directeur sportif’s role.

The team manager will be the German Markus Zingen, and he said there is one clear goal. “We want to stay true to the mission of a development team: offer opportunities to young cyclists to develop as athletes in a professional environment and to prepare them for a potential career in the UCI WorldTour,” he stated.

“We will be able to offer them a balanced race program and a good team spirit.”

He will be joined by the past Luxembourg champion Tom Flammang plus Markus Zingen. Both will work as directeurs sportif.

Details of the team’s race programme will be released at a later point.


Leopard Development team for 2014:

Staying:

Piero Baffi (ITA - 08.09.90)
Alex Kirsch (LUX - 12.06.92)
Pit Schlechter (LUX - 26.10.90)
Tom Thill (LUX - 31.03.90)
Joël Zangerle (LUX - 11.01.88).

New riders:


Marco König (GER - 01.07.95)
Matthias Plarre (GER - 27.01.92)
Massimo Morabito: (LUX - 25.02.93)
Kevin Feiereisen (LUX - 12:04.92)
Dennis Coenen (BEL - 13.11.91)
Patrick Olesen (DEN - 09.10.94)
Florian Salzinger (GER - 05.07.83)

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