Like Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador, Trek Bicycles has chosen to stick with Johan Bruyneel and join the Astana team. The Wisconsin-based manufacturer will become the team’s official bicycle supplier on January 1, 2008.
Trek Travel will also partner with Astana, offering behind-the-scenes access to the team. SRAM announced its sponsorship of Astana on November 25.
Trek will lose its current ProTour team, Discovery Channel, as that team ends operations on December 31. Tailwind Sports, the team’s owner, had been partnered with Trek for a decade, first with the U.S. Postal team and then Discovery Channel.
“When we learned that the Discovery team was dissolving after the 2007 season, we knew that we wanted to stay in the pro peloton,” said Scott Daubert, Trek’s road bike brand manager. “But we didn’t want to jump into just any team; we wanted to make sure any future sponsorships would be the right move for Trek, even if that meant sitting out the 2008 season.
“When Johan approached us about a possible move to Astana, we realized that the opportunity to continue working with him was too good to pass up. We’re excited to be able to continue building on what has to date been a very fruitful partnership.”
For his part, Bruyneel said Trek was his first and only choice.
“I didn’t go to anyone else for bikes in 2008,” he said. “Trek is the only company that can support our program. I know this from the success we have had together. There are lots of details in running a team and knowing that the bikes will be good every time we race tells me that I made the right choice.”
Astana will ride the new Madone in road events and the Equinox TTX in time trials, and the team’s top finishers in this year’s Tour de France look forward to continuing their relationship with the American bicycle manufacturer.
“Obviously Trek knows what they are doing. Look at the races they have won,” said Tour champion Contador. “I’m happy to stay on a Trek to defend my Tour title.”
Leipheimer, third in this year’s Tour, echoed Bruyneel and Contador’s sentiments.
“I’m very happy to have Trek as the sponsor of the new Astana team. The new Madone has all the elements I look for in a high-performance bike; it’s light, stiff, and looks awesome. Most importantly, I know I can trust its reliability.”
Riders will be introduced to their new bikes at December’s orientation camp in Valencia, Spain. Riders will be fully outfitted in time for January’s New Mexico training camp.
The team’s first race aboard Treks will be Australia’s Tour Down Under, January 22-27.
“We’re excited to be part of the new Astana and to continue racing at the sport’s highest level,” said Trek president John Burke. “What counts here is having the best riders on the best bikes. We have faith in Johan [Bruyneel] and we’re fired up about working with riders like Levi and Alberto.”