One team that has made a splash in the European peloton is the Luxembourg based Leopard-Trek team. Their line-up includes the Schlecks, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt and several other strong riders. While victories at E3 Prijs, Criterium International and the Tour of Luxembourg earned them column inches, they were creating quite a stir before one pedal turned on the road.
The press about the name of the Luxembourg super squad was full of speculation before the team presentation. When the name was announced the genesis of the title and proper usage of it rankled a few writers who are not accustomed to being told how to use or pronounce a team’s moniker. The British magazine CycleSport let their feelings be known in an open letter to the squad. I even took a good natured swipe at the boys in white and blue.
The name Leopard-Trek comes from the holding company of team general manager Brian Nygard – Leopard True Racing. During the team presentation Nygaard explained, “We had a meeting with a notary and when we signed the papers, he asked us what we wanted to call the company. I looked at Becca and we said ‘we don’t care, can you pick a name? He came back two weeks later with leopard, and the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. The leopard is a slick, strong, elegant animal, and if we can be something like that with this team, I’d be very happy.”
Sure the name sounds like something you’d give your kid’s soccer team – but whatever.
Now during the Tour de France Versus’ Phil and Paul have been telling the story of how the team was named after a German tank used in World War II. I’m thinking naming a team after a German tank that P&P claimed to have seen action in WWII is not a wise marketing choice. The French, for one, can’t be thrilled with that.
However, a quick Wiki search states that the Leopard tank project started in 1956 by West Germany. For those who aren’t history buffs, Germany surrendered in May, 1945.
I think we can safely call “bullshit” on the Leopard Tank story. And no, I’m not going to pronounce the team LAY-oh-pard Trek.