- RadioShack and Leopard teams to merge for 2012 season
- The new cycling team will be called RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
- The team will have 30 riders including the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank
Two of the biggest teams in world cycling are to merge next season, with the news that Lance Armstrong's RadioShack squad and Luxembourg outfit Leopard-Trek are to join forces.
The new team, which will be called RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, have secured sponsorship for a two-year period and will continue to be licenced in Luxembourg.
A formidable line-up of 30 riders will be confirmed later this month, which will contain Leopard's Schleck brothers Andy and Frank -- who finished second and third in this year's Tour de France -- and world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara.
Other high-profile riders will include American Chris Horner, Germany's Andreas Kloden, Jani Brajkovic of Slovenia, Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark and Italy's Daniele Bennati.
Team chief Johan Bruyneel announced the news on the official RadioShack website, saying: "With our sponsors' continuing commitment and the professionalism of our riders, I'm confident that RadioShack-Nissan-Trek will dominate cycling for years to come.
"With Team RadioShack, we won 30 races and dominated the most important American races in 2011. Now thanks to the presence of riders like Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers, we now have the potential to win not only Classics and major stage races but Grand Tours as well.
"We are grateful our sponsors believe in this project. This is a great milestone for our team and our global sport."
Both teams are relatively new to the peloton, with RadioShack forming in 2010 around seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong, while Leopard was set up last year and spearheaded by the Schleck brothers.
The merger will free up an extra place in the 18-team Pro Tour elite section following the recent demise of HTC-Highroad and another merger between Belgian squads Omega-Pharma and QuickStep.
However, one of those places is expected to be taken up by the new Australian outfit Green Edge, who have just announced the signing of top sprinter Matt Goss as one of their leaders.