US Postal Service/Discovery Team Report
Team announces 25 riders for 2005 season.
is also somebody we have been following for a few years and tried to get at the start of last year. He is also really excited to come to our team. He had many other possibilities, some of which were more attractive financially, but he decided to ride for us. That says a lot about our program and how strong of a mind he has. He won't regret his decision."
Returning stage race stalwarts include Jose Azevedo (fifth at the Tour de France this year), Manuel Beltran (13th at the 2004 Tour of Spain, including several days in the race lead) and Jose Luis Rubiera - top 20 in the last two Tours de France. Also returning for 2005 include 2004 Tour performers Viatcheslav Ekimov, George Hincapie, Benjamin Noval, Pavel Padrnos and a guy named Lance.
Other new comers for next year include Volodymyr Bileka, a teammate of Popovych on the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago squad, up and coming American talent Tom Danielson, World Cup workhorses Roger Hammond of England (3rd at this year's Paris-Roubaix) and Leif Hoste of Belgium (2nd at this year's Tour of Flanders), American Olympian and Tour de Georgia stage winner Jason McCartney and New Zealander Hayden Roulston, winner of the opening stage at this year's Tour de la Region Wallonne.
"This group brings extra strength to the team in many races," said Bruyneel. "We get stronger in the Classics, we get strong in American races and get stronger in smaller stage races, with a rider like Danielson. While 'm very happy with this group, most importantly, everybody will really fit into the team well. For us, a new rider must fit into the whole group for it to work. Otherwise, it's always difficult. One of the ways we selected some of these riders was how they would fit into our team. For us, that has always been a big condition."
Current USPS riders returning in 2005 are Lance Armstrong, Michael Barry, Michael Creed, Antonio Cruz, Stijn Devolder, Benoit Joachim, Patrick McCarty, Gennady Mikhaylov, Jurgen van den Broeck and super sprinter Max van Heeswijk, coming off the finest season of his career.
"This year was an absolutely special one because we were confronted with a truly historic moment - the chance to win six