Press release of the year

September 6, 2011

Oh boy, cycling is not known for its sophistication, and press releases consisting of hot air wrapped in lycra are no exception. But even in this world, Lepert’s press release yesterday evening was at another level. Let’s analyze:

Leopard announces that RadioShack and Nissan are joining the Leopard-Trek World Tour Team as sponsors for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Congratulations, nice to see these two great companies will be sponsoring TWO Pro Cycling teams next year, because I seem to remember they also extended their contracts with the American Team Radioshack run by Johan Bruyneel. There’s no connection, is there? As you don’t mention any.

Leopard will continue to hold its existing UCI World Tour License. The team will be rebranded as RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team as of next year.

That’s some serious competition for “Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli”. Too bad you didn’t go for the crowdsourced suggestions of “Leo Trekshack-san” or “Nishacktrek”.

Team Leopard owner Flavio Becca comments: “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.

Why not? Aren’t you incredibly wealthy? Isn’t your arch nemesis BMC moving forward in “modern cycling” without any strong sponsors? Their sugar daddy just keeps on plowing in more money, why is that impossible in Luxembourg’s “modern cycling”?

Do you need support from Radioshack to get better car radios? You keep the same bike sponsor, so that can’t be it. And you’re changing from Mercedes-Benz to Nissan cars, is that a “move forward”?

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.”

Are they really trusting your exciting young project, or are they trusting somebody else? Sorry, my mind is wandering again. Why is everybody thinking Bruyneel is involved, when it seems pretty clear from your press release that you just happen to have found the same sponsors he already had? Maybe the Shack and Nissan told Johan they had some extra money, and he gifted it to you because he loves your exciting young project?

The team will continue to call Luxembourg its home.

Why do you mention this? Who would even think you would consider moving just because you signed two sponsors? You should be careful with statements that make it appear more is going on, it may open up rumors about, say, Bruyneel being involved in the whole thing. And you don’t want that.

Time trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara as well as Tour de France runners-up Andy and Frank Schleck will continue to lead the team in its ambitious plans for the seasons 2012 and 2013. They will be joined by Tour of California Champion Chris Horner, two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Kloden, and National Champions Matthew Busche, Jani Brajkovic, Nelson Oliveira and Robert Wagner.

Hey, that’s a lot of riders from the OTHER Radioshack team who seem to be switching to your team. Is that how you repay Johan’s generosity in giving you this extra Radioshack and Nissan cash? You steal his riders?

The final line-up will be announced in due time.

It would be better to get the important stuff out of the way first. Such as: will your riders still wear scarves next year?


BTW, is this statement about the same thing?

15 Responses to “Press release of the year”

  1. hl2037 Says:

    ” you’re changing from Mercedes-Benz to Nissan cars, is that a “move forward”? ”

    A golden coffe-spray-moment for me, and you are so right. I guess poor Flavio fell for Johan’s charm, superficial as it might be, like so many others have before him.

    • Hey, I’d rather have a Nissan than a MB (although we drive a smart at home, which technically is sort of a MB). But I don’t think it’s that sort of move that wins you the Tour.

      • hl2037 Says:

        Come on, nissans are for people who can’t afford quality, just at Bruyneel is for teams who can’t afford class.

        • Skater Says:

          Does Mercedes have anything competing with the GT-R? It’s not only sophisticated and fast, but also affordable. Pick 3 out of 3.

          Something really dirty is going on. Amazed that Johan is not hiding under a big rock right now. He shoudl be wealthy enough to go to some tropical island without extradiction treaties to Western countries, and enjoy a well-deserved pension?

  2. beev Says:

    I hear Bjarne has aggrovated an old injury – the one first caused laughing when nuyens beat spartacus in flanders….

  3. metaFORMA Says:

    A great analysis Gerard. Again.

  4. To be fair thou isn’t this just another case of an emperor who’s wearing no clothes mocking another one for wearing no clothes ?

    Didn’t the Garmin-Cervelo ‘merger’ set the pathway for other teams to do the same, you can’t really complain or mock others going down this path, when you were responsible for cutting the path open.

    Everyone in this game that is cycling plays dirty, including Garmin Cervelo and it’s management team, so please stop trying to pretend that you are above what’s happened here, it’s pro cycling when this happened to your team, you were happy to shaft riders as quickly as the rest.

    • I disagree. First off, we didn’t merge with Garmin nor did we claim to, as you can see in the original announcement:

      Secondly, I’m not even commenting on their merger, but on their truly weird press release and the fact that it completely forgets to mention Bruyneel and is in full contradiction to the Radioshack statement. As a journalist, you must find it annoying to think that one of the two sides (at least) is trying to snow you.

      Thirdly, we didn’t shaft any riders, all riders under contract with CTT for 2011 got new contracts. Most for the same or more money than they had with CTT, those that earned less with their new contract were compensated for that.

      And it didn’t stop there. Virtually all the riders who weren’t under contract got new teams too, sometimes on their own, sometimes with our help. The same is true for our staff, in the end virtually everybody got a place elsewhere thanks to the hard work of themselves and the CTT management.

  5. Serge Says:


  6. Sal Ruibal Says:

    Where is Mellow Johnny in all of this? What does this say about the Grand Jury investigation? Lots of questions and few answers.

  7. so what? Better one good team than none, right? Or maybe is it too much of a threat for Garmin-Cervelo’s dream to become the world’s #1 UCI team? I love Garmin-Cervelo team, much more than Radioshack, but what I love above all is the fighting spirit of this sport. It made me who I am today… I don’t want to see again a monopoly, such as the 1-2-3 in Liege Bastogne Liege, or the “don’t move now!” orders of some despotic “peloton bosses”. We love cycling and we should support every initiative that will keep our sport alive, vibrant, exciting. Thanks anyway Gerard for your analysis of what’s happening.
    All the best

  8. Dubtap Says:

    So what about riders who signed up for the luxembourg project and suddenly find themselves property of JB? That has to be a contract breaker. More rider transfers?

    • Well, the only “property of” bit in cycling is the contract signed by the rider with the paying agent (which is the company holding the license). That company continues to be the license holder, so Leopard riders can’t leave just because the sporting manager changes.

      Radioshack riders can leave, they can’t be forced to transfer to the Leopard paying agent.

  9. you know, it happens every single day in the “other” professional world. My company has been acquired twice these last 12 years. With lots of changes at every level, executive management, strategy, processes, lworkforce, ocation… I think that is part of the “game”. Not always a pleasant one, I agree. But the best way to cope with change is to adapt, not to resist.
    Last but not least, I think that if we want to have a counter power to the UCI and to some race organizers, we need big and strong professional teams at the pro tour level, and then, they could begin to open the discusssion on TV rights and other topics… And then, we’ll have (maybe) a more sustainable platform for professional cycling. Is there any professional sport nowadays that doesn’t retribute the actors (players), directly or indirectly for the use of their image rights?

  10. […] Press Release of the year – Blog post of the year? By Gerard Vroomen […]

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