Posted by Editoress on 09/18/13
Trek Bicycle has reached an agreement to extend its partnership as equipment supplier to one of the world's most prestigious U23 cycling development programs, the recently re-named Bissell Cycling Team. The new agreement will keep the team racing aboard Trek and Bontrager equipment while the team shifts to a new name and title sponsor. Axel Merckx, the team's director, will continue to lead the program that he has built over five years of working with Trek. The team recently announced that they would continue racing as the Bissell Cycling Team.
After realizing resounding success while serving as title sponsor of the Bontrager Cycling Team, Trek was forced to re-organize its sponsorship portfolio to meet UCI standards. "We have always felt that working with Axel's development team is one of the most exciting projects we're involved with," said Trek VP Joe Vadeboncoeur. "Trek's new WorldTour team license prohibits us from continuing as the title sponsor of the Bontrager U23 development program, as UCI rules would disqualify the team from participating in the biggest races, where they receive the best experience. We are really excited to continue to support Axel's efforts to develop world-class riders ready to compete at the highest level."
Over the past five years, the program's list of alumni racing for WorldTour teams has grown to a roster of cycling's next generation. Rising stars Taylor Phinney, Ben King, and Joe Dombrowski are all former members of a program that has graduated 14 riders to the WorldTour ranks (plus current rider Antoine Duchesne). The current roster is preparing to send another cadre of burgeoning talent to WorldTour level teams for 2014.
"I am extremely thrilled to continue my relationship with Trek in helping to develop the next generation of pro cyclists," said Merckx. "Thanks to Trek, over the last five years we have built what I consider one of the strongest development programs in the world. I can't thank Trek enough for continuing their investment in my program."
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