Trek Bicycle Corporation has announced that the Astana Cycling Team has chosen Trek to be the official team bike supplier for the 2008 season and beyond, continuing a sponsorship with former Discovery/US Postal director Johan Bruyneel that began in 1999.
Starting on January 1, 2008, Team Astana will ride Trek OCLV Carbon. Standouts from the successful 2007 Discovery Channel squad include defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador and U.S. road champion Levi Leipheimer.
“We’re excited to be part of the new Astana and to continue racing at the sport’s highest level,” said Trek’s 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.”
Trek’s presence in the pro peloton was recently put into question when Tailwind Sports, the parent company for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team—the team Trek has sponsored for the last ten years—announced that it would disband the team after the 2007 season. But when team director Bruyneel announced his decision to take over direction of the Astana Team beginning in 2008—bringing with him ’07 TdF podium finishers Contador and Leipheimer—the decision to join Bruyneel at Astana was a natural one.
“When we learned that the Disco 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. It’s no secret that we’ve enjoyed tremendous success with Johan over the past decade, and he’s demonstrated time and again that he’s one of the savviest tacticians in professional cycling. We’re excited to be able to continue building on what has to date been a very fruitful partnership. The chance to continue working with riders like Contador and Leipheimer and now Chris Horner is an added bonus.”
Bruyneel is excited to enter the second phase of his team management career, welcoming the challenges and opportunities associated with taking over the Astana team.
“It was not an easy decision to return to cycling after my recent announcement in August,” Bruyneel said when Astana officially announced his appointment as general manager. “However, in my new role with Astana I have found new challenges and I am excited to help the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation grow the sport in the country.
“Under my guidance, the Team will strictly abide by the UCI Pro Team Code of Conduct, as well as any and all anti-doping measures agreed to by the UCI or the Team’s Union," he added. "Additionally, the Astana Team has taken further measures by subscribing to the anti-doping program developed by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard and utilized by Team CSC in 2007. The Damsgaard anti-doping system is currently the most effective and comprehensive program available.
“I didn’t go to anyone else for bikes in 2008,” Bruyneel said about his decision to approach Trek. “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.”
The riders look forward to competing on Trek bikes, too.
“Obviously Trek knows what they are doing. Look at the races they have won,” said 2007 Tour de France winner Contador. “I’m happy to be on a good bike.”
2007 Tour de France third-place finisher Leipheimer echoed Bruyneel and Contador’s sentiments.
“I’m very happy to have Trek as the sponsor of the new Astana Team. Trek was an integral part of my success during 2007. The new Madone has all the elements I look for in a high-performance bike. Most importantly, I know I can trust its reliability."
Team Astana will also be outfitted with Bontrager components, including high-performance wheels, stems, saddles, and handlebars. SRAM has already announced its sponsored deal with Astana to provide its Red gruppos for three seasons.
Riders will be introduced to the new Astana team bikes and team kits at December’s orientation camp in Valencia and will be fully outfitted in time for January’s New Mexico training camp. The team’s first race aboard Trek bicycles will be Australia’s Tour Down Under, which races from January 22-27, 2008.
© BikeRadar 2007