RadioShack to withdraw sponsorship of Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara's team
Last Updated: 19/03/13 6:02pm
RadioShack will withdraw its sponsorship at the end of the season
RadioShack-Leopard's torrid year has taken another turn for the worse after French media claimed that American electronics giant RadioShack will withdraw its sponsorship of the team at the end of the season.
According to the sports newspaper L'Equipe, the company has cited financial losses and a desire to target Asian markets as the reasons for the decision.
However, the report has been dismissed as "pure speculation" by team owner Flavio Becca.
RadioShack have been hit with successive doping scandals in recent months, with the exposure of Lance Armstrong as a cheat last autumn being swiftly followed by Frank Schleck's ban for a failed test at last year's Tour de France.
Should they pull out, it will be the second season in succession that the Luxembourg-based team has suffered a sponsorship setback, after Nissan asked for their name to be withdrawn from the title at the end of the 2012 campaign.
The news further compounds what has been a miserable start to the year. Frank Schleck was ruled out of competitive racing until mid-July after being given a backdated one-year suspension for a positive Xipamide test, while brother Andy's dreadful form and string of race withdrawals has led to concern over his mental state.
RadioShack initially became a UCI WorldTour sponsor in 2010 when they backed a new team being built around Armstrong and manager Johan Bruyneel.
When that squad was wound up at the end of 2011, the company - together with Bruyneel and several riders - joined the Leopard-Trek team and later became known as RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.
Meanwhile, Blanco Pro Cycling have secured their first team sponsor, Pioneer. The technology firm began producing cycling products in 2012 and will supply to the Dutch team with state-of-the-art cyclo-computers.
Blanco have been looking for backers since former title sponsor Rabobank withdrew last year in the wake of doping scandals.