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De Luxe

The transfer market ahead of the start of cycling’s new Pro Tour season has been hyper-active largely due to the creation of the new Luxemburg Pro Cycling team.

The new potential superpower features no less than 25 active members, including Portuguese ex-Barbot rider Bruno Pires and is headed up by Andy and Frank Schleck.

Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank team has tried to compensate for the loss of the brothers by attempting to sign Alberto Contador but the ongoing doping investigation is still making it hard to make concrete plans.

In contrast, the American RadioShack set up for 2011 is already complete.

The Lance Armstrong-led team relies on four Portuguese riders in Manuel Cardoso, Nelson Oliveira, Sergio Paulinho and Tiago Machado and has been strengthened by the arrival of Robbie McEwen and Robert Hunter.

These three main contenders as well as ex-Tavira star David Blanco’s new Geox (ex-Footon) outfit also boasting Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov can be seen in action at this month’s Tour Down Under before the peloton moves to Europe and the Algarve in mid-February.