Discovery eye new targets

This year's new look Discovery Channel team won't be all about the Tour de France, as the introducti

This year's new look Discovery Channel team won't be all about the Tour de France, as the introducti
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM Monday's launch of the Discovery Channel team was not all about Lance Armstrong. There were 27 other riders there, and team manager Johan Bruyneel has laid out programmes for all of them designed to make the new team competitive at all 27 events on the ProTour calendar. Of course, Discovery Channel will be expecting pick up US Postal's mantle from the Tour de France and be competitive there, but Bruyneel stressed that the Tour will not be the one almost all-encompassing goal for this team that it has previously been. Other key goals are to win a first-ever World Cup event and to compete strongly in what will be this team's first outing at the Giro. Speaking at the team launch, Bruyneel said "we have a strong team and have made some very strong additions in terms of stage racing. We have never won a World Cup race and we will try to win a Classic for the first time. We will do for the first time in our history the Giro and have a rider [Paolo Savoldelli] who has won it before and is very motivated to be on the podium. [For the Tour] we have a young rider in [Yaroslav] Popovych who I think can be a future contender." As new riders have come in, other have left the fold, most notably Floyd Landis, to whom Armstrong paid a fulsome tribute during the press conference. "Floyd is a bit of a double loss because he's number one, a good bike rider, and number two, he's an American, and we like to have both of those kinds of guys on the team. "But Floyd had become a hot commodity, especially after the final week of the Tour when he showed he could recover and hang in there. it didn't take a genius to figure out he was making everybody suffer at the Tour. But it came to a point where he was getting lucrative offers from a lot of other teams and he chose to leave and we support that decision. we wish him well." Asked about the possible end of an era of American dominance at the Tour, Armstrong commented: "I think we have to be prepared for this. perhaps we've been a little bit spoiled. We have to be prepared for a few dry years. But we think that some people we have here, although not American, stand a pretty good chance. And then, take a young rider like Tom Danielson. We think he has tremendous potential. Is he going to win the Tour de France in 2005? Probably not. But we think by bringing him here and developing him in the proper way that we can show him in the future how to win the Tour." * You can read about Tom Danielson's first impressions of his new career with Discovery Channel in his exclusive monthly column in procycling magazine, which is on sale now.
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