Discovery Channel's Antonio Cruz has found a new home following the planned disbanding of the ProTour squad at season's end, with the American joining the BMC Professional Cycling Team. The former UC Pro Criterium Champion has spent the majority of his professional career with the Discovery Channel/US Postal squad, alongside former rider and part team owner Lance Armstrong.
"I would like to thank everyone at Tailwind Sports and CSE for their support over the years," stated Cruz when announcing his new home. "I was deeply saddened to hear that the team and its management structure would be folding. I will greatly miss this cycling family. I have learned so much from Johan and Dirk and will always be grateful for the sporting opportunities that they have given me.
"Now that this chapter in American cycling closes I am ecstatic to be a part of BMC Professional Cycling Team's young and growing program," he added. "I know that we will accomplish great things through the coming years. It is a great feeling to know who my team will be for the next two years. I am calm."
Cruz, who has signed a two year deal with the BMC team, spent 2006 riding for rival American Continental squad Toyota United during a 12 month hiatus from ProTour racing.
"I am extremely pleased to add Tony Cruz to our team roster for 2008 and 2009," said BMC team manager Gavin Chilcott. "Tony brings the caliber and depth to the team that will be critical for the success of the expanded international program that we have designed for the upcoming two years. In addition to being a versatile and effective rider, Tony brings a valuable level of maturity and leadership to the team.
Chilcott went on to hint at further announcements from the squad expected over the coming weeks. "In addition to Tony, a number of other new members of the team's rider roster and staff will be announced during the upcoming weeks," he said. "2008 promises to be an exciting continuation of the BMC program's development as a team. As an organization, we are extremely fortunate for the steadfastness of our sponsors and the long-range perspective of our advisors. Together we look forward making a constructive and meaningful contribution to the future of cycling."
Discovery Channel's management company Tailwind Sports announced Friday that it would cease its hunt for a new title sponsor in 2008 and leave the ProTour. The company's decision has thrown the majority of its roster onto the market, with many expecting both American George Hincapie and Slovenian Jani Brajkovic to be announced as signing to the German T-Mobile ProTour squad in the near future.
Other competitors within the Discovery ranks are calling an end to their competitive careers following the announcement. Australian Matthew White is one such rider who will join American Professional Continental squad Team Slipstream as a sports director next season.