Tag Archives: Discovery Channel

Leipheimer Wins TT, Big George Defends

Levi from ToM Gallery
Levi from ToM Gallery

The Discovery Channel Team continues to dominate the Tour of Missouri with Levi Leipheimer winning the Stage 3 time trial while George Hincapie keeps the GC lead coming in fifth place. The two teammates have been on the opposite sides of luck since Leipheimer came on board. Levi is enjoying a career best year with a Tour podium and the win at The Tour of California and US National Championship. Levi is a happy man despite not having a contract for next year. Meanwhile Big George has a contract with T-Mobile for 2008, but not because of his stellar results. Despite being US National Champ for 2007 Big George has been having troubles. Curiously, George and Levi seem to not be so buddy-buddy as they seemed to be last year when Levi sacrificed himself to allow George to win the US National Champs in his hometown.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Today’s stage proved to be an almost all Discovery showcase. Leipheimer lit up the course which he described as:

A lot of big rollers, I would call them. Middle climbs that required a different kind of rhythm. I had to punch it on all the middle climbs and recover on the downhills.

Tour of Missouri website

Hincapie was feeling the effort from the previous day, but still faired well with a sixth place finish that allows him to extend his lead.

“The legs weren’t great, I definitely felt my effort yesterday. Coming into the circuits yesterday was basically me against 10 guys, I had to control every attack. So I think I paid a little bit for it. But it was good, I was better than everybody in the break, and that’s all I had to do today.”

Tour of Missouri website

Stage four will probably be the toughest stage of the Tour with lots of hills and the longest distance of the race so far. Disco does have the strength to defend George’s title, but don’t count out all of the 12 breakaway men. David Canada and Will Frischkorn are close enough to George where they could still be dangerous.

Hincapie Gets 14 Minute Advantage

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

George Hincapie could have already delivered the death blow to the Tour of Missouri. Hincapie won Stage 2 of the Tour of Missouri from a group of 14 men who are all Continental Pros. No other Euro based racer was in the break meaning that Hincapie can most likely defend the race lead all the way to the end. Discovery Channel has the strongest team at Missouri including such notables as Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador. Each of these races and others has brought top results to Disco over the course of this year. So it is only natural that it is George’s turn to win.

Tomorrow is a time trial in Ned Flander’s version of Las Vegas, Branson, Missouri. Hidely ho neighborinos, George Hincapie will be trying to shake off the 14 breakaway men that helped him to a 14 minute lead so he can have some more breathing room going into the next stages. But, George has not had very good luck in races. Last year’s ENECO Tour fiasco with Stefan Schumacher and the broken forks/stem of Paris Roubaix among some of the misfortunes that have beset Phil and Paul’s favorite racer after Lance Armstrong.
Maybe there could be some magic in Branson Missouri, or maybe George will go see Yackoff Smearnoff and get really agitated and stomp out a storming TT as a result. Either way the Tour of Mizzou could be over only two days into the inaugural race, but at least the fans are getting a known name to be the winner.

Contador “I never doped” and I Need a Job

AFP/File/Joe Klamar
AFP/File/Joe Klamar

2007 Tour de France champ Alberto Contador met with the press accompanied by Discovery Channel Team Director Johan Bruyneel and his family and Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky. Contador basically announced they he never doped and he is not involved in Operation Puerto (OP). He will not stop racing and will in fact give DNA samples and help with the investigation. The growing controversy surrounding the Tour champ resulted in Contador not being invited to several races especially in Germany where investigator Werner Franke is said to have evidence linking Contador to OP.

The announcement by Contador must surely be a way to help clear the air of suspicion surrounding Contador especially as he is now looking for a new team to race for in 2008. Tailwind Sports the company behind the Discovery Channel team has announced that they are stopping the team at the end of the 2007 season. Tailwind sports was unable to find a suitable sponsor since the announcement earlier this year that Discovery Channel would cease sponsorship. The never ending flow of doping news most likely scared away potential sponsors, especially with the admission by Ivan Basso of being “Birillo” of Operation Puerto fame. The involvement with Basso and other doping controversies which only intensified during the Tour de France may make any potential sponsor shy away.

Now, the remaining team and associated staff will be looking for a job for 2008. George Hincapie is said to have already signed for T-Mobile which will stay in the sport until 2010. Levi Leipheimer, Yaroslav Popovych and Alberto Contador to name a few will be looking for work.

The end of Tailwind sports marks the end of a formidable team that started way back in the 90s as Subaru Montgomery. The team eventually landed a large sponsor in the United States Postal Service who was keen to advertise overseas. In 1998 they signed recovering cancer victim Lance Armstrong. In 1999 Johan Bruyneel came on board. The rest is history. Discovery Channel finally seemed to get past the Armstrong Era with Contador. The team performed better overall placing three racers in the top ten overall at the Tour.

Just like US Postal “took over” after the demise of Motorola in the early 90s a similar pattern is emerging at Team Slipstream is gaining momentum to be the next top American team. Slipstream may not take the ProTour opening left by Discovery Channel for 2008 as their main goal is entry to the Tour de France only and not the various Pro Tour events.

Another interesting note is a developing trend. The 2007 and 2006 Tour winning team have ceased sponsorship at the end of each season. Last year’s Phonak squad ended after Floyd Landis’ Testosterone case caused replacement sponsor iShares to cancel its sponsorship of the team. Now Discovery Channel is ending its sponsorship after having a Tour winner in its ranks. Sponsors are shying away from the sport and the doping headlines causing racers and support staff to actually lose their jobs. With lots of racers around and not as many teams, they pay for racers goes down due to supply vs. demand. Therefore each racer gets less money than they would have otherwise. So, the incentive to dope should now disappear.

Contador Press Conference for Saturday

Ugh, the sinking feeling is starting again. Velonews announced that Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is scheduling a press conference where he will release a statement and not take questions from the press. Discovery Team Manager Johan Bruyneel will be by his side.

Contador issued a release Wednesday notifying media of his plans to read a statement at the offices of Spain’s national sports council – the Consejo Superior de Deportes – in Madrid.

Contador will be accompanied by Discovery Channel team director Johann Bruyneel.

Via Podium Cafe: http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/13062.0.html

This conference could also be setup to announce that Contador will not be racing while the WADA investigation to Contador’s Operation Puerto case is finalized. WADA decided to re-investigate Contador’s involvement in Operation Puerto which was previosuly dismissed by the UCI.

The World Anti Doping Agency has opened an investigation on Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), winner of this years Tour de France, and his alleged involvement in Operation Peurto. WADA is working with ex-Liberty Seguros rider Jörg Jaksche, who admitted that he worked with the Spanish doctor while he was a team-mate of Contador at Liberty Seguros, after it received documents from German Professor Werner Franke that supposedly links the Spaniard to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

Documents seized in the case are said to contain the letters A.C., which is allegedly the initials of Alberto Contador. Jaksche’s initials are also present on the document along side the doping products that he has admitted to using. “I don’t know if Contador was a client of Fuentes,” said Jaksche. “I only know that I used those doping products that are shown on that document.”

With this action, WADA is overturning the UCI’s earlier decision to acquit Contador of any involvement in the case.

Johan Bruyneel, Contador’s team manager, has serious doubts of the integrity of Professor Franke. “‘He defended Danilo Hondo, when he was caught in the Tour of Murcia for using the banned substance Carphedon, if you ask me he only speaks the language of the person paying him,” said Bruyneel.

Cyclingnews.com

Hopefully the press conference is a simple announcement that Contador is simply not going to race and will participate with the WADA investigation. He could also reclaim his innocence and vow to fight. The other possibility would be that he could admit to being involved in Puerto which would not be a good thing for cycling or the Discovery Channel Team.

Contador Wins Tour, Bennati Gets Two

AP Photo/Elsbeth Schouten
AP Photo/Elsbeth Schouten

Alberto Contador gave Discovery Channel and the Tour de France organization A.S.O. a surprise win today. The 24 year old Spaniard also won the white jersey of best young rider to boot. Hopefully he will avoid the same fate as the last man to wear Yellow and White in Paris, Jan Ullrich. Contador is more or less clear of any involvement in Operation Puerto. He had to comeback to racing from a near fatal blood clot in his head and now has a metal pate in his skull. His win could also boost Discovery Channel’s chance of finding a new sponsor for 2008. Not to mention the third place of Levi Leipheimer and the first podium of an Aussie ever. The Tour podium came out just as many fans and organizers had hoped, especially as the top three was oly separated by a slim 31 second margin.

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31 Seconds for Top Three

AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski
AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski

The order of the top three in the Tour did not get shuffled, but everyone is closer in time. This will probably not matter as Levi has already declared he will not challenge Evans for the number to spot and pull a “Vinokourov” on him. The reference to Vino is from two years ago when Alexandre Vinokourov took fifth place from Levi Leipheimer by sprinting for bonus times on the final day. This is a day that is usually considered an off day for overall GC contenders. The sprint seconds are really meant for the Green Jersey contenders.

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Relentless Contador, Resurgent Vino

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

The Pyrenees stages of the Tour have whittled down the list of contenders for the 2007 Tour de France to two names. Michael Rasmussen is still in Yellow but has a relentless Contador ready to pounce into the lead. After yesterday’s well played out win on Plateau de Beille, Contador and Discovery Channel have a leader they feel could win the Tour de France. Contador has launched several blistering attacks to take out almost every rival except for Rasmussen.

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Contador Moving Up

ERIC DE PAEPE/AFP/Getty Images
ERIC DE PAEPE/AFP/Getty Images

Alberto Contador is exciting to watch. His high cadence pace and aggressive attacks in the mountains have made him one of the more entertaining cyclist in the Tour de France. This weekend ‘s stages were among some of the more exciting stages in the past few years. The trend we can see developing is that Alberto Cpontador is a true contender. Perhaps he has been the secret contender for Discovery Channel all along. No one can doubt that Coontador has the skills necessary to win if not this year then next year and probably a few years after that.

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

The stage up Plataeu de Beille featured a mono-a-mono battle between Rasmussen in the Yellow Jersey and Contador in the White Jersey. Lots of talking and possibly sniping going on between the two racers. They probably both agreed to put as much time as possible into their rivals namely Cadel Evans who was working on his own pace up the insanely steep climb. Contador with Johan Bruyneel’s direction was able to force Rasmussen to make the pace and stay in second position going into the final kilometers to get the stage win. A small extra time bonus helped to close the margin slightly to Rasmussen to boot. The display of confidence and the ability to follow through successfully on a high pressure stage were a big boost to Discovery Channel who now look like a formidable team.

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Basso Leaves Discovery Channel

basso_disco_california.jpg
Photo credit should read DOUG PENSINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Well that did not last long. Ivan Basso announced that he is leaving the Discovery Channel team. Basso asked out of his two year contract in order to avoid being a distraction to the team as they try to find a new sponsor. Basso wants to make it known that this decision was 100% his and not of the team. Basso spoke with

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Basso Questions CONI’s Timing

basso1.jpg

Ivan Basso is angry about the timing of the recent reports about the opening of the CONI investigation. In fact the timing is questionable since we are two weeks away from the start of the Giro D’Italia and in the Spring Classics season. Basso was to make an appearance at Fleche Wallone on Wednesday and Liege bastonge Liege on Sunday.

Investigators from CONI did say that the Spanish Guardia Civil contacted them in November and December with more information and samples from the bags of blood that allegedly belonged to Basso. The investigation was ongoing but in private. Perhaps CONI was in a Discovery phase of gathering evidence to put together a solid case against Basso, but the timing suspect. CONI has had a bad reputation of pooping on the Giro in order to get the maximum publicity from drug seizures, raids and tests. So for Basso to question the timing of the latest episode of Operation Puerto is not out of the question.

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