Friday, August 10, 2007

unplug the television?

i just read this. hmmm...let the bidding begin?
Discovery disbands
Tailwind Sports has announced the end of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team today, confirming rumours that cropped up when the team failed to announce a new sponsor after the team won the Tour de France. The team was given notice that the Discovery Channel would not renew its sponsorship back in February, leading to a long and intensive search for a replacement sponsor.
Despite having won eight Tours de France, the team will fold at the end of this season, leaving 27 riders looking for new jobs, including 2007 Tour winner Alberto Contador, third place finisher Levi Leipheimer, and eighth place finisher Yaroslav Popovych. American George Hincapie is rumoured to have already signed with T-Mobile for the upcoming year, a team whose sponsor was uncertain to continue in the sport until intensive talks led to a renewal of commitment from the sponsor with plenty of conditions.
General Manager Bill Stapleton admitted in the organisation's press release that the search for a new sponsor had gone nowhere. "We were in talks with a number of companies about the opportunity and were confident a new sponsor was imminent. We have chosen, however, to end those discussions."
The team was said to have been close to signing a deal in
March, but no announcement followed the news. As the season wore on, Bruyneel had gone as far as China to search for a replacement sponsor, but by June, the team had still failed to ink a deal. The team was rumoured to be asking $45 million for three years - a difficult sell in the current climate of doping scandals in the sport. That the team which won eight Tours can not find a sponsor bodes poorly for the sport in general. "Tailwind has had an amazing ten years of success with U.S. Postal and more recently Discovery Channel as its title sponsor. This is arguably the most successful sports franchise in the history of sport," stated Stapleton. "This was a difficult decision, not made any easier by our recent Tour de France success."
Directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel built the team from a fledgling squad of Americans to a Tour powerhouse starting in 1999. With Lance Armstrong, the team went on to win seven Tours. While the squad struggled in the wake of Armstrong's retirement in 2005, it found its footing once again in this year's Tour and came out with it's best performance ever with two men on the podium. "When I came to direct this team in 1999 I never would have imagined that we could achieve this level of success. It was an amazing time in my life and the lives of all the staff and riders associated with this team," commented Bruyneel.
Bruyneel's future in the sport is now in question, with Rabobank being the only ProTour team in search of a directeur sportif. "I'm going to miss the staff, riders and the excitement of the races, but not all the in fighting between the teams. This Team has become my family and it is very sad to think that we will not be together next season. 2007 has been our most successful season ever and I expect the remainder of the season to continue on that same path."
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, a co-owner of the team, took a more optimistic view. "I do not think you have seen the last of this organisation in the sport, but clearly things need to improve on many levels, with a more unified front, before you would see us venture back into cycling," Armstrong added. The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team will continue to race its full calendar of Pro Tour races including the final grand tour of the season, the Tour of Spain, as well as the upcoming Tour of Missouri."


the inebriationist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Fuck em, let's see what ex-doper J Vaughters can do with his slippery team.


Rocky Raccoon said...

First you run over one of my brothers and now my cousin is murdered. Can't we all just get along.,2933,292833,00.html

the mostly reverend said...

i surprised no one recognized bob roll!