Discovery Channel Names TdF Team

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Greg Galitzine

Discovery Channel Names TdF Team

Lance Armstrong is one of only two American riders on the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team’s Tour de France Roster.

New York native George Hincapie will join Armstrong, but the rest of the squad looks like a roll call of the EU:

  • Jose Azevedo of Portugal
  • Jose Luis Rubiera, Manuel Beltran, and Benjamin Noval of Spain
  • Paolo Savoldelli of Italy
  • Yaroslav Popovych of Ukraine
  • Pavel Padrnos of the Czech Republic.

Armstrong believes the team is built to win.

“I think we have fielded our strongest team ever with this formation,” said Armstrong. “It has many consistent elements from years past, like the Spanish armada for the climbs, strong guys like George, Pavel and Benjamin, the Giro winner in Savoldelli, plus a guy like Popo (Popovych) with a very bright future.

“I look forward to leading this team and attempting to give the great folks at Discovery a yellow jersey. I'm more motivated than ever.”

Of the eight teammates, Hincapie is the only one who has raced alongside Armstrong for all six of his Tour victories.

Paolo Savoldelli recently won his second Tour of Italy (Giro d’Italia) in the last four years.

As for the competition, Team CSC will counter Armstrong with Ivan Basso (Italy), with Bobby Julich (USA) also a potential contender.

T-Mobile has brought on two highly experienced lieutenants to support Jan Ullrich in his last chance to beat Armstrong: 2004 runner-up Andreas Klöden and 2003 third-place finisher Alexandre Vinokourov. Ullrich won the 1997 Tour and has been runner-up five times.

A reporter, interviewing Vinokourov for the team’s Web site asked if the T-Mobile team could dethrone Armstrong. The Kazakh answered, “We are going there with the intention of turning the heat on Armstrong and hopefully force him to crack. But the guy is exceptionally strong and motivated. It is hard to imagine him cracking. He will be in top form. The key is to attack Armstrong, but that is easier said than done. Nevertheless, that is what we will try to do.”

I’m looking forward to this year’s Tour, and while I’m rooting for Lance to win number 7, I’m really hoping that the sport won’t get brushed back under the rug in the U.S. after he retires.

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