Azevedo leaves Discovery Channel

It's one Portuguese rider in and another one out as José Azevedo decides to quit the American team j

It's one Portuguese rider in and another one out as José Azevedo decides to quit the American team j


Portugal's Jos Azevedo has decided to leave the Discovery Channel team after three seasons with the squad in order to spend more time with his family in his home country. Azevedo decided to forego the final year of his contract with Discovery after discussing the issue with team manager Johan Bruyneel.

"We are very appreciative of Jos's hard work and dedication to this Team over the past three years," said Bruyneel of the rider known as 'Ace' by his team-mates. "He has been very instrumental in the team's success and we wish him all the best as he starts a new chapter in his life."

Azevedo, who will be 33 next month, said it had been "a difficult decision. The Discovery team is the best in the world - it is any rider's dream. But I discussed it with my family, and I am content with the choice."

Azevedo played an instrumental role in Lance Armstrong's final two Tour de France victories, particularly in the mountains. He joined the US Postal team in 2004 after three seasons with ONCE and finished a career-best fifth at that year's Tour. This year he was Discovery's highest finisher in the race in 19th place.

Azevedo is set to become the leader of a new Portuguese continental team bearing the famous Benfica name. The team is being backed by the company run by Tour of Portugal organiser Joao Lagos, and is looking to sign several of the country's emerging talents.

In spite of Azevedo's departure, Discovery's roster will still include one Portuguese rider following the signing of Sergio Paulinho from Astana.

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