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Giro d'Italia - Discovery Channel Team Preview
 
By Staff
Date: 5/10/2007
Giro d'Italia - Discovery Channel Team Preview
 

Giro d'Italia - Discovery Channel Team Preview
Sean Yates brings a strong team to support "Popo" for his run at the Corsa Rosa. George Hincapie the late addition to the roster to ride his first Giro!

The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team recently finalized the roster of riders who will compete at the 2007 Giro d'Italia, May 12 - June 3. Bringing a wealth of experience in three-week stage races, the squad will focus their effort on placing team leader Yaroslav Popovych as high up as possible in  the overall standings; hopefully in the Maglia Rosa .

The roster's depth of experience has Sean Yates, Discovery Channel lead Sports Director for the Giro, very  optimistic. "[Ivan] Basso leaving our squad was certainly a loss but is not a disaster," said Yates, "Popo was always preparing to do a good Giro and he is on form. If all goes right for him I think he can be on the podium like he has been in the past."

"Aside from working for Popo, we will try to win at least one stage and wear the leader's jersey too. We have a strong group of guys with a lot of  experience in grand tours and Popo will need all of their help and wisdom to get him onto the podium."

Discovery's Popovych is not unproven in Grand Tours. The 27-year-old Ukrainian has competed in 5 Grand Tours (3 Giro d'Italia / 2 Tour de France), finishing third and fifth in the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Giro respectively and also won the best young rider competition at the 2005 Tour de France, finishing 12th overall in the process.


George Hincapie at Tour de Georgia. Photo c. Stephen J. Miller

A late addition to the team's Giro roster is current USA  Road Champion George Hincapie, who has competed in 13 grand tours to go along with the 56 grand tours contributed by the other eight DC riders comprising the 2007 Giro squad. (It will be
George's first Giro d'Italia.) George replaces Tomas Vaitkus, who is recovering from a persistent knee injury.

Volodomyr Bileka of the Ukraine starts his 5 Giro d'Italia, an all rounder and long time team mate of Popo long before the duo joined Discovery, is a strong all rounder and strong finisher at stage endings. Steve Cummings of Britain a world class pursuit rider will be essential in the pace setting in the opening TTT and as a domestique throughout the Corsa Rosa.

Discovery Channel's Giro d'Italia squad:
Yaroslav "Popo" Popovych
George Hincapie
Volodomyr Bileka 
Steve Cummings 
Pavel Padrnos 
Jose Luis "Chechu" Rubiera
Brian Vandborg
Jurgen Van Goolen
Matthew "Whitey" White
Directeur Sportif: Sean Yates

Chechu relates a funny story to Popo during the Spring camp in Solvang. Photo c. Greg Parks

Pavel Padrnos a talented hard man and roulleur has improved his climbing in the past few years, and with "Chechu" Rubiera will form the support for Popo assault in the gravity challenges in the Giro. Chechu is one to watch for a mountain stage victory if the opportunity presents itself. Vandborg, Van Goolen, and White form a strong group of support riders for the long haul.

 
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