Yesterday's Paris-Camembert Lepetit saw a focused and determined Lance Armstrong use the race as an extended training and testing exercise for some of the newer recruits in his Discovery Channel team. Writing on the Discovery Channel team website thepaceline.com, photographer Graham Watson reports, "All day long it looked like Lance was testing this inexperienced team, using them as his means to an end - another high-level training ride - while seeing which of them might be of use to him later in the season. Benjamin Noval was on the 2004 Tour team, but riders like Jurgen Van Den Broek, Ryder Hesjedal, Jason McCartney, Fumiyuki Beppu, and [Tom] Danielson - all had a lot to learn from the master of six Tour wins."
On the steeper climbs, Danielson - who has repeatedly said in his Cyclingnews diary that riding for Discovery is like a new beginning for him - was the only member of the team able to stay with Armstrong, hinting at a possible role for Danielson as a climbing lieutenant when Armstrong goes for his seventh Tour de France win later this year.
Armstrong finished 24th in Paris-Camembert, rolling in with the main peloton seven seconds behind solo winner Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom). Armstrong will ride this weekend's Tour of Flanders in support of Discovery Channel Classics specialists George Hincapie and Stijn Devolder. He will then return to the US for a training camp before the Tour de Georgia.