After taking on board Sergio Paulinho and Thomas Vaitkus, Discovery Channel continue their signing s
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American rider Levi Leipheimer is to ride for the Discovery Channel team for 2007. Leipheimer rode for US Postal back in 2000 and 2001, then left to ride for Dutch team Rabobank for three seasons, and has been with the German Gerolsteiner team for the last two years.
Leipheimer, 32, would give the team a serious overall option for next year’s Tour de France following the failure of the four riders they pinned their hopes on this month to make the expected impact. However, it seems Discovery Channel’s preferred option would be to sign Floyd Landis, who of course rode with US Postal for three seasons before joining his current Phonak team.
Leipheimer said of his move: “I’m very excited about returning to the Discovery Channel Team, its family of sponsors and working with Johan Bruyneel once again. This team has a long history of success and I plan to work hard to continue their winning ways in 2007.”
Leipheimer joins two more confirmed signings on the Discovery roster for 2007. Astana’s Sergio Paulinho and Ag2r’s Thomas Vaitkus. The team is also being linked with another Astana rider, Alberto Contador, who is one of that team’s members not implicated in the Operacion Puerto investigation.
Bruyneel has high expectations for his new riders, stating: “All three of these riders have proven themselves in the ProTour ranks and I expect them to fit well into our team. Each of them brings different strengths and I am excited about having them ride for Discovery Channel in 2007.”