Discovery Channel Team Report

News & Results

06/22/2005| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
Lance Armstrong: "I'm more motivated than ever." Photo copyright Ben Ross/Roadcycling.com/www.benrossphotography.com.
Lance Armstrong: "I'm more motivated than ever." Photo copyright Ben Ross/Roadcycling.com/www.benrossphotography.com.

Discovery Channel Team Report

Tour de France team announced; Armstrong: I?m more motivated than ever.


2005 Tour de France team announced; Armstrong: I?m more motivated than ever.

 


When Lance Armstrong begins the final race of his illustrious professional career on July 2 at the 92nd Tour de France, the six-time Tour winner's teammates will include most of the squad that assisted him to his record sixth win last summer and two newcomers to the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team but not to the sport's grand events.

 


Tailwind Sports today announced the eight teammates that will join Armstrong on the start line of the 2005 Tour de France in Fromentine in 10 days - American George Hincapie, Spain's Jose Luis Rubiera, Manuel Beltran and Benjamin Noval, Pavel Padrnos of the Czech Republic, Portugal's Jose Azevedo, Italian Paolo Savoldelli and Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych.  Tour of Italy champion Savoldelli and Popovych, third at the 2003 Giro, are first year team members.


"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.? Armstrong added that, "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."


The Discovery Channel team's sports manager, Johan Bruyneel, who has directed Armstrong to all six Tour victories, said the roster has great experience and familiarity to the Texan.

 



"I wanted an experienced team for Lance's last Tour and that was the determining factor," said Bruyneel.  "I want him to be surrounded by guys who have always been around him.  It's a team with just two new riders with the rest returning from last year.  All are ready or are getting ready."

 

Bruyneel added - "It wasn't difficult to choose.   The group that rode at the Dauphine Libere (Azevedo, Beltran, Hincapie, Noval, Popovych and Rubiera) showed me they are at a good level while Paolo and Pavel did a great job in the Giro.  Paolo was never in doubt, especially when he won the Giro, and is such a great rider.  Pavel did a very good job in the Giro riding for Paolo and is very strong.  For me, it was an easy selection."

 




Of Armstrong?s eight teammates, only Hincapie has raced alongside Armstrong for all six Tour victories.
Next highest is Rubiera with four (2001-2004) and Padrnos with three (2002-2004).   Beltran has taken part in Armstrong's last two Tour victories while Azevedo and Noval raced with the team for the first time last year.


"When making the selection, it's a matter of finding a balanced team," said Bruyneel.  "I think we have guys for everywhere - the flats, those that will work in the hard stages and guys for the mountains."


Does Bruyneel agree with Armstrong's feelings that this lineup - with two time Tour of Italy champion Savoldelli, last year's fifth place finisher at the Tour de France in Azevedo, climbing stalwarts

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