Tour of Georgia - Discovery Channel Team Profile
Tom Danielson is back to defend his title with a team stacked with
By Bart Hazen
Discovery Channel has been the top team in the early stage races in Europe
winning the team G.C. like clockwork placing multiple riders in the top ten and
challenging for the Spring Classics. The squad for Georgia is a mix of the team
that are preparing for the Giro, Dauphine Libere, Tour du Suisse and eventually
the return to le Tour sans Lance.
For the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team it will be an important race in
the 2006 season as defending 2005 champion Tom Danielson looks to not only
retain his crown, and targets his form for the Giro d'Italia just a few weeks
Danielson is supported by a strong Disco squad with Johan Bruyneel on hand in
the team car. As usual it is a fit group of riders that take to the road to
support Danielson especially in the crucial climbing stages 3 & 4 where Tom was
able to demonstrate hid strength and take the lead last year setting aside Floyd
Landis and Levi Leipheimer's to arrive at the finish in yellow. Sadly the
American fans will miss George Hincapie at the race today as he recovers from
injuries suffered at Paris - Roubaix when his steerer tube sheared.
Gerolsteiners Levi Leipheimer isn't present this year while Phonak's Floyd
Landis obviously in form and intent on winning the tour could present a
challenge... but Discovery is undaunted at the task before them and on the
quality of the team they may have a point; but Landis won't make it easy on the
Disco lads. Let's look at the squad in support of Tom D.
1 DANIELSON, Tom DSC USA
2 POPOVYCH, Yaroslav DSC UKR
3 BRAJKOVIC, Janez* DSC SLO
4 EKIMOV, Viatcheslav DSC RUS
5 LOWE, Trent DSC AUS
6 MARTINEZ, Egoi DSC ESP
7 MCCARTNEY, Jason DSC USA
8 NOVAL, Benjamin DSC ESP
Tom Danielson is the defending champion
in the Tour of Georgia. Last year he won the Tour of Georgia ahead of Floyd
Landis and Levy Leipheimer. Tom had a very good year last year with also an 8th
rank the Vuelta D’Espana. Tom is a very good allround rider and maybe he will
win a grand tour one day. After Lance Armstrong has stopped with cycling Tom is
America’s great hope for the future. This year he finished already 8th in the
Tour of California and 10th in Tirreno Adriatico and he is ready to defend his
2005 title here. Tom Danielson's site
On a question if he is the next Lance Amstrong he said:
“First of all, Lance has left quite a void in American cycling, and there will
never be another Lance Armstrong," says Danielson. "For sure American cycling
needs more guys to follow and more people to keep pushing it forward. That's my
job, and I'm on the best team with the best riders and the best directors in the
world so I'm going to work as hard as I can, put my mental focus on, and push as
far as I can."
full interview here
After the Tour of Georgia Tom is going to prepare himself for the Giro
D’Italia which will start in May. His aim is to get in the top 10 of the final
ranking and compete well against the best Italian riders like Cunego, Savoldelli,
Basso, Simoni and the Venezuluan José Rujano.
Egoi is born on 15 May 1978. He started his career in 2002 with Euskaltel and
rode for that team until 2005. Since the beginning of 2006 he is a member of the
Disco team. Egoi is a good climber and I’m sure his time trial abilities are
becoming better and better now he is riding for Discovery. I’m sure we will see
Egoi back in July when they will try to get Popovych on the podium in Paris at
the Tour de France. Egoi himself won one race so far in his career and that was
the Tour de L’avenir in 2003. In 2006 his best result was a 3rd place in the 1st
stage of the Vuelta Castilla y Leon.
Egoi Martinez site
Well what do we need to say more about good old Slava Ekimov? The man has a gold
value for the team regarding the wins from Lance in the Tour. But Slava has an
impressive victory list himself as well, winning 2 times the Olympic Time-Trial,
winning the Eneco Tour, winning stages in the Vuelta D’Espana, Tour de Suisse,
Dauphine Liberé, Paris Nice, Tour de France (TTT with Discovery and Us Postal),
the Championships from Zürich and so on. But the 40 year old rider from Russia
is still on the bike and didn’t have thoughts so far with retiring from cycling.
interview with Cathy Mehl last year he answered how he stays motivated he
“Well, if you take cycling as a job and you accept your job seriously, then it
becomes easier. The only thing you need to know is what races you’ll do in the
year and then you focus on certain periods. It’s almost impossible to go the
entire year and be at the same (fitness) level “
More information about Slava
interview by Cathy Mehl with him from February during the Tour of
California. He just returned back from a injury which cost him almost the entire
In the coming Tour of Georgia Slava will be a serious contender to win the
Time Trial stage. Further he will be a "Super" domestique for the team leader
Tom Danielson. But actually the whole team has the abilities to win this Tour of
Trent is born on 8 October 1984. He started his pro career last year with
Jittery’s Joe and rode a good Tour of Georgia. As a result he landed a contract
with Discovery and rode quite well in races like Murcia, Algarve and Castilla y
Leon so far. Trent is coming from mountain biking but decided to switch to road
cycling. In an
interview with cyclingfx he said:
“There are a few reasons I am changing to road racing, I guess the biggest
reason is that I was presented with this amazing opportunity to ride for the
Discovery Channel, and it wasn't something I was about to miss. I think a lot of
mountain bikers want to ending up on the road. Some of the road races I did this
year were great, it made me realize that road racing is the Formula One of
cycling and it made me really ambitious to be amongst it more.”
But his first goal for the season will be the Tour of Georgia where he rode
very well last year for Jittery’s Joe. Trent is a good climber and if his Time
Trial abilities become better he will be a serious contender for the general
rankings in the stage races in the future.
A true talent and one of the future champions of the sport, Yaroslav "Popo"
Popovych made his debut with the Discovery Channel team in 2005. The Ukrainian
strongman, just 25 years old, has turned in three eventful years as a pro, keyed
by his performances at the Tour of Italy (third in 2003 and fifth in 2004).
Popovych finished a respectable 12th in his Tour of Italy debut in 2002,
his first pro season. Team sports manager Johan Bruyneel expects the former U23
World champion to be a contender for the top step of the podium at the Tour de
France in a handful of years and a future team leader.
Prior to joining the professional ranks, Popovych raced for the Italian
Vellutex Zoccorinese team that resulted in over 35 victories, including Paris-Roubaix,
the Giro Regioni, twice at the Giro del Val d'Aosta and his World Championship
in Portugal in 2001. In 2002, Popovych raced for the Belgian-based
Landbouwkredit-Colnago team and finished 12th in his Giro debut.
Last year he won the Volta a Catalunya, the team time-trial with Discovery in
the Tour, and won the white jersey of best young rider in the same Tour. This
year he will focus on the Tour de France and will try to get on the podium in
Paris. He will be the leader of the Discovery team. So far in 2006 he won the
2nd stage, a time-trial, in the Vuelta Castilla y Leon. Because the Tour of
Georgia is very important for the team Yaroslav is a serious contender to win
the race. But like we said already everyone in the team can win.
Jason McCartney's exciting 2004 season earned him a spot on the Discovery
Channel team's roster in 2005, and the seven-year pro will likely see plenty of
action both in the U.S. and Europe.
McCartney surprised many with his stage win and victory in the mountains
competition at the Tour de Georgia as a member of the Health Net team. His
effort in the tough stage to Dahlonega won him VeloNews' North American "Ride of
the Year" honors.
He followed that success with a victory in the U.S. Olympic selection race,
earning an automatic spot on the U.S. team. McCartney nearly scooped the
favorites at the T-Mobile International in San Francisco, riding solo in the
race's later stages and coming close to a dramatic victory. Other season
highlights included victories in the Tri-Peaks Challenge and the Snake Alley
Criterium in his home state of Iowa.
A solid all-around rider, McCartney won a handful of races in 2003, including
two stages and the overall at the Joe Martin Memorial stage race, the Snake
Alley Criterium and stages one and four of the Gateway Cup. In 2002, as a member
of the Jelly Belly team, he won stages at the International Tour d'Toona and the
Tour of Kansas City. In 2001, McCartney won one stage and the overall at the
So far in 2006 he was 2nd in the 2nd stage of the Vuelta Castilla y Leon just
1 second behind his teammate Yaroslav Popovych. Jason is a good rider against
the clock and a domestique rider for the team in Georgia.
Janez is born on 18 December 1983. He started his career with the KRKA-Adria
Mobil team before switching to Discovery in the middle of 2005. Until then he
was the current World Champion U23 in the Time Trial after beating Dutch hope
The Slovenian rider is an excellent rider against the clock and a decent rider
in the mountains. He is the hope of Slovenia to do well in one of the Grand
Tours in the future and especially the Tour de France. So far in 2006 he was 9th
in Castilla y Leon and 18th in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. In the coming Tour de
Georgia he will also be a contender for a top 10 rank in the final
classification and the U-23 jersey.
Benjamin is born on 23 January 1979. He started his career with Relax
Fuenlabrada in 2001 before switching to US Postal in 2004 after gaining their
attention and the worlds when he wore the gold jersey in the Vuelta Espana. For
this team, now Discovery of course, he is still riding. Benjamin is a domestique
rider in the team and works a lot in the early parts of the races. So far he has
2 victories. These 2 are both the Team Time Trial in de Tour de France (2004 &
2005). Benjamin can climb very good and has a good time trial that’s why he is
important for the team in the Tour de France and races like Georgia.
Discovery Team website