SOURCE: Trek Bicycles

December 12, 2007 18:38 ET

Trek Named Team Astana's Official Bike Sponsor

WATERLOO, WI--(Marketwire - December 12, 2007) - Trek Bicycle Corporation today announced that the Astana Cycling Team has chosen Trek to be the official team bike supplier for the 2008 season and beyond. Starting on January 1, 2008, Team Astana will rely on the proven technology of Trek OCLV Carbon to provide them with the lightest, fastest, and best handling bikes in the pro peloton. Riders like defending Tour de France Champion Alberto Contador and U.S. Road Champion Levi Leipheimer will count on the cutting-edge technology and superior ride characteristics of the all-new Madone for all-around workhorse duties in the most demanding races on the professional calendar. For time trial events, Astana riders will race against the clock aboard the fastest bike on the circuit, the wind-cheating Equinox TTX.

"We're excited to be part of the new Astana and to continue racing at the sport's highest level," noted 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."

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 Johan 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 Discovery Team was dissolving after the 2007 season, we knew that we wanted to stay in the pro peloton," noted 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 time 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."

For his part, 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 retirement 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."

Bruyneel continued, "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. 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."

When it came to find a bike sponsor for the new Astana, the choice was a clear one for Bruyneel. "I didn't go to anyone else for bikes in 2008," noted Bruyneel 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," voiced 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. "I'm happy to stay on a Trek to defend my Tour title."

2007 Tour de France podium finisher Levi 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; it's light, stiff, and looks awesome. Most importantly, I know I can trust its reliability."

Trek Travel will also partner with the Astana team, offering behind the scenes access to the team. This exclusive access to the world's most successful stage racing team continues to set Trek Travel apart in the active travel industry.

Riders will be introduced to the new Astana team 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 Trek bicycles will be Australia's Tour Down Under, which races from January 22-27, 2008.

About Trek Bicycles:

Headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Trek Bicycle Corporation is a global leader in bicycle design and manufacturing. From the original hand-built steel touring frames introduced in 1976 to the revolutionary OCLV carbon fiber first introduced in 1992, Trek's passion for innovation, quality, and performance leads the industry with next-generation technology and thinking. With an unprecedented eight Tour de France titles in the last nine years, six straight 24-hour World Solo Mountain Bike Championships, and countless other professional wins, Trek enjoys a rich tradition of victory in the world's premier cycling events. Today, with a broad range of bicycles and cycling products under the Trek, Gary Fisher, LeMond, Bontrager, and Klein brand names, Trek continues to pursue new ways to bring the joy of cycling to all people.

About Astana:

Established in 2006 under the auspices of the Cycling Federation of Kazakhstan, and sponsored by a consortium of major Kazakh industries, the Astana Cycling Team was created as a vehicle to spark the interests and foster the development of Kazakhstan's young riders. Named for the new capital of the Independent Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, which means "capital city," ensures that the best and brightest riders in Kazakhstan have an opportunity to compete at the sport's highest level. Success for Astana is not only a source of national pride for the Kazakh people, but also gives inspiration to nearly 6,000 young Kazakhs enrolled at 14 government-sponsored training centers. Astana operates under the direction of the team's general manager, Johan Bruyneel, the director sportif for eight of the last nine Tour de France champions.

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