Team RadioShack’s main sponsors have agreed to a two-year extension of their sponsorship contracts with the world’s No. 3-ranked UCI ProTeam.
A source close to the negotiations has told VeloNews that RadioShack, Nissan and Trek will all continue to back the U.S-based team through the end of 2013.
There was no immediate response to an e-mail sent to the team’s title sponsor.
The news is a great morale boost for American pro cycling, coming just one week before the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, when riders and agents traditionally start renegotiating contracts or seek new teams.
It means that RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel can begin recruiting new talent now that former team leader Lance Armstrong is fully retired and current leaders Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner are nearing the ends of their long careers.
Doubts had been expressed in recent weeks that sponsors would be willing to re-sign with Team RadioShack following the CBS 60 Minutes program last month in which Tyler Hamilton admitted to doping in his years with the U.S. Postal Service team, including the three years, 1999-2001, when he was a team rider for Armstrong in his first three Tour de France wins.
However, it appears that the successes of Team RadioShack over the past month — the dominant performance at the Amgen Tour of California, where Horner and Leipheimer finished 1-2 and Leipheimer’s overall victory at the Tour de Suisse — were crucial in clinching the sponsorship extensions.
The news gains even more significance in coming days after the No. 1-ranked UCI ProTeam, HTC-Highroad, revealed its urgent need to obtain a title sponsor for 2012 or risk going under.
It is also understood that the Team RadioShack sponsorship renewals means the continuation of the Trek-Livestrong under-23 program managed by Axel Merckx.