Yaroslav Popovych is confirmed as the first major signing for the Discovery Channel team set to takePICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE The US Postal team have confirmed that Ukraine's Yaroslav Popovych will be joining them next season when the team is taken over by the Discovery Channel. Fifth in this year's Giro d'Italia and third in last year's, the 24 year old is rated as one of the best major tour prospects in the sport and will undoubtedly be touted as Lance Armstrong's successor as leader for the Tour de France. Popovych, who was the world under-23 champion in 2001 and won the under-23 version of Paris-Roubaix that same year, has signed a three-year contract with Discovery Channel. As a Pro Tour team, the Discovery Channel will be required to field a squad at the Giro next year, and Popovych could well find himself leading his new team there and then riding for Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France just a few weeks later. US Postal team manager Johan Bruyneel has expressed his pleasure at Popovych's arrival, saying: "I'm really excited to get Yaroslav on the team. He's a young rider who has shown his talent on numerous occasions. He was the World U23 champion and he has produced some great performances at the Giro. I'm sure he still has a great margin of progression and I see him as a future contender for the Tour de France in a few years. It's great to have a big talent like him joining us. He really believes in our program." Popovych was equally happy with the prospect of joining Discovery Channel after three seasons with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago. "Riding for the Discovery team in 2005 has been my ultimate dream," he said. "It's a team which I believe in and a team where I'm sure to receive the proper education from directors such as Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol to become a three-week stage racer."