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August 10, 2007

Discovery Channel team disbanding after '07 season

Los Angeles Times | Discovery Channel cycling team to disband

Team Discovery ChannelComing off a dominant Tour de France performance, the Discovery Channel pro cycling team will announce it has been unable to find a new title sponsor and is disbanding.

The announcement comes in the wake of a press conference today where Tour winner Alberto Contador reiterated that he's never used doping products and was not involved in the Operación Puerto ring.

The Discovery Channel team was the only US-based ProTour team, and grew out of the Subaru-Montgomery Sports team created by Thom Weisel in 1989. The announcement will free Contador, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, and the team's other riders to seek alternate teams next season. The team will still compete in the Vuelta a España and the Tour of Missouri as planned.

Jonathan Vaughters' Team Slipstream is racing more and more on the European circuit, and has signed a number of ProTour riders, including David Millar, Dave Zabriskie, Magnus Backstedt, Julian Dean, and Christian Vande Velde. Vaughters has said he hopes to win a ProTour license for 2009.

T-Mobile announced yesterday that they will continue sponsorship of the team at least through 2010, when its contract expires, despite continuing doping scandals, including T-Mobile's Patrik Sinkewitz, who tested too high for testosterone in June.


ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.) | Tailwind Ends Team Sponsor Search

Posted by Frank Steele on August 10, 2007 in Alberto Contador, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink


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How is it that so many European corporate sponsors see the commercial value and find the wherewithal to sponsor numerous ProTour cycling teams and not one or two American-based corporations with global market interests can be found to put their name on the backs of one of the most sucessful cycling teams in recent history?

Is Tailwind's $45 million + annual price tag too high? Is it out of line? Was it possible to reduce it to some extent?

Or, was there just too much old doping and potentially new doping baggage with the team? Would or could US Postal aka Discovery Channel aka Tailwind not compete in an emerging cycling culture of clean cycling?

Posted by: John Hay, Jr. at Aug 10, 2007 6:28:31 PM

Despite the team being registered in Denmark, CSC is a global US-headquartered corporation.

Posted by: Sam at Aug 14, 2007 3:11:48 AM

And, if we want to push it just a little, Quick Step is a unit of US-based Mohawk Industries, the carpet manufacturer.

Mohawk bought Quick Step's parent in 2005.

Of course, neither cycling squad is US-based, and their UCI nationalities (the country associated with their racing license) are Denmark and Belgium, respectively, where Tailwind was a US registrant with a US-based squad.

Posted by: Frank at Aug 14, 2007 9:00:25 AM