US manufacturer Trek Bicycle has stepped up from a sponsorship position to acquire the WorldTour racing licence for leading cycling team RadioShack-Leopard-Trek.
A named sponsor since the team's inception in 2010, beginning next year Trek will assume ownership of the squad after striking an agreement with the Leopard management company.
Trek, which will create a new team that will debut in the 2014 season, said that it would begin the process of seeking sponsorship partners immediately.
Trek vice-president Joe Vadeboncoeur said: “We will have the ability to create more and better marketing content. The rider’s nationalities represent our major markets and become an army of ambassadors at events all over the world. We can have better integration into new product development and the ability for hospitality and activation at events.”
While the new team's organisational chart and roster of athletes has not been completed, Trek said that it would work to conserve a large part of the existing team.
RadioShack-Leopard-Trek’s leading stars include this year's Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara, along with the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank. Frank Schleck is currently serving a one-year doping ban that will end on July 14.