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No role for Armstrong in RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE, Luxembourg (VN) — Lance Armstrong will not have a public role in the newly merged RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team.

That’s according to team manager Johan Bruyneel, who said the seven-time Tour de France winner will not play any formal role in the management of the team.

“Lance has a personal relationship with a lot of us here and he’s a big fan of the Schleck brothers, but he’s not actively involved in the team,” Bruyneel said Friday.

Team owner Flavio Becca’s Leopard SA retains ownership of the newly merged RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team that saw the fusion of RadioShack and Leopard-Trek at the end of the 2011 season.

The team is listed as registered in Luxembourg on the UCI’s web site (with Bruyneel’s name curiously missing from a list of management).

One of the team’s co-sponsors is LiveStrong, a partner of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the subject of a critical piece in this month’s Outside Magazine penned by Bill Gifford.

Bruyneel suggested that Armstrong will act as unofficial team advisor and perhaps appear at such marquee events as the Tour de France.

“He has the experience and knowledge. If we need his advice, we can use him from a strategic point of view. He might come to the Tour to give some advice and morale to the team,” Bruyneel said. “He will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the team.”

Armstrong, meanwhile, has been keeping a relatively low profile, at least within cycling, since retiring at the beginning of the 2011 season as an ongoing federal investigation continues.

Bruyneel’s sport director staff for 2012 will include three from each team, with Alain Gallopin, Dirk Demol and José Azevedo from RadioShack while Kim Andersen, Lars Michaelsen and Luca Guercilena stay on from Leopard-Trek.

One name missing is Russian veteran Viatcheslav Ekimov, who joined as a sport director within the Bruyneel camp following his retirement after the 2006 season. Ekimov has since joined the Russian cycling federation and will act as an advisor to Katusha this season.