After much speculation, a little strategic maneuvering, and then a final parting of ways Swiss time trial champion Fabian Cancellara has found a new home. And the new home looks a lot like the old home. Fabian has followed the Schlecks, Voigt, O’Grady and others to the new Luxembourg Team. By my count, this makes him the 25th (and final) member of the team. The timing leads to questions about whether or not Cancellara was waiting to be sure the team received their ProTour license – which in fact they did.
The UCI licensing board has announced the recipients of the latest batch of 4 year ProTour licenses. A ProTour license allows teams a spot in all ProTour races, setting the stage for a team’s season.
Most of the teams are current ProTour license holders, reapplying when their 4 year license expired. However, two teams – BMC and Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project – are new to the ProTour ranks.
The Danish website TV2 Sporten is reporting that Brian Holmes – currently of HTC Columbia – will move to work with the new Luxembourg based team of Frank and Andy Schleck. Brian’s contract with HTC Columbia expires at the end of this season. From the english translation of the original post, Brian Holmes is quoted as saying:
If you had asked me last week, I would have confirmed that I stop on HTC-Columbia. But I said to Brian Nygaard (CEO of Team Luxembourg, ed) that I need a couple extra days to think about me in
VeloNews.com is reporting that Andy Schleck has officially confirmed that he and his brother Frank will be leaving the team currently known as Saxo Bank at the end of this season.
So, after first reporting that the brothers were leaving, and then reporting that wasn’t certain during the Tour de France, we’ve finally got more concrete, specific information. Next year we will see a new pro cycling team out of Luxembourg, with Frank and Andy Schleck riding for their home country’s team.
It was reported here at JustAnotherCyclist.com that the rumors of brothers Frank and Andy Schleck leaving the Riis Racing team (currently sponsored by Saxo Bank) at the end of this season were indeed true. However, according to press releases by Bjarne Riis during the Tour de France, that may still not be set in stone. It was revealed that SunGard – currently a minor sponsor of the team – would step up and fill the title sponsor role being vacated by Saxo Bank at the end of this season. With this move, according to VeloNation:
With Sungard and the second, unnamed, sponsor on board, Riis will likely be able to afford to keep hold of the team’s two biggest assets: the Luxembourg brothers, Fränk and Andy Schleck. “We will continue at the same level,” said Riis, “We will still aim to be the World’s best cycling team.”
Andy Schleck, however, deflected direct questions and chose to focus on the current Tour de France by saying “Now we will get the Tour out of the way, then we will talk about it later in the year” (VeloNation)
It does not appear that this effects Bryan Nygaard’s plans to start a new pro cycling team based in Luxembourg. It does, however, spur additional questions about exactly what theam the Schlecks will call home.