[I'm just copying the press release. Others will comment I'm sure.]
Discovery Communications announced today the 2006 roster that will lead cycling's greatest team into the post-Lance Armstrong era. The Discovery Channel Team has won seven Tour de France titles over the course of its history -- an accomplishment no other team can claim. Sports director Johan Bruyneel and organization leadership are aiming for top contention in all three of the 2006 Grand Tour races -- the Tour of Italy, Tour de France and Tour of Spain.
"The continued partnership between the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team and Discovery Communications allows us to bring our important values of excellence, perseverance and exploration to our global audience," said Judith A. McHale, president and CEO, Discovery Communications, Inc. "We also look forward to more participation by Lance Armstrong and his teammates in innovative content initiatives across our networks."
"I am retired from racing, but my love for the sport and my commitment to the organization that has afforded me so much success motivates me to take the next step in my career evolution," said Lance Armstrong. "There is rarely a day I don't talk to [Sports Director] Johan Bruyneel about the team, the sport, and what it takes to win."
The 2006 team made their debut with all 27 cyclists from 15 countries and unveiled their 2006 uniform, bicycle and tour schedule. The 2006 season will begin in February at the Vuelta Andalucia in Spain, followed by the inaugural Tour of California -- a rare showcase on American soil. Other highlights on the schedule include the brutal and legendary Tour of Flanders and Paris -- Roubaix as well as all three Grand Tours-the Tour de France, the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Italy.
The 2005 cycling season was another monumental one for Team Discovery, as the team logged 21 international race victories, an overall Tour of Italy win by Paolo Savoldelli, a Tour de Georgia win from Tom Danielson, and an unprecedented, crowning accomplishment for Lance Armstrong's career-a seventh Tour de France title.
The 2006 Discovery Channel Team begins their racing campaign with several riders who hold promise to lead them to victory in both Grand Tour stage races as well as single day Spring Classics. Key returning riders include George Hincapie, American Classics team leader and key Tour de France performer who won a mountain stage of the 2005 Tour de France; U.S. hopeful Tom Danielson, winner of the Tour de Georgia and eighth-place overall at the Tour of Spain; Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia, a 14-time Tour de France finisher and Athens Olympic medalist; Italian Paolo Savoldelli, the 2005 Tour of Italy winner; and Yaroslav Popovych of the Ukraine who had an outstanding 2005 season highlighted by his Best Young Rider designation at the 2005 Tour de France.
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