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Leopard-Trek, RadioShack Merge to Form New Elite Cycling Squad

Luxembourg’s first Tour de France team, Leopard-Trek, will merge with Lance Armstrong’s former RadioShack team to form a new cycling squad for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

The team, which will feature top riders from both rosters, will be rebranded as the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team and use Leopard-Trek’s existing World Tour license, Leopard-Trek said on its website last night. The Luxembourg-based team will be managed by Johan Bruyneel.

“In modern cycling you cannot move forward without strong sponsors,” Leopard-Trek owner Flavio Becca said in a statement. “I have high expectations for the performance of this team. This is a major strategic move for all partners involved.”

The merger links Leopard-Trek, currently the No. 1 team on the Union Cycliste Internationale’s World Tour rankings, with eighth-ranked RadioShack.

Andy and Frank Schleck, who finished July’s Tour de France second and third overall, will continue to lead the team with time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara, Leopard-Trek said. They’ll be joined by Tour of California winner Chris Horner and two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Kloden of RadioShack.

The 30-rider roster and staff will be a combination from the current teams, RadioShack said in a statement, adding that further details will be released by Sept. 15.

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

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