By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Santa Rosa, California
Australian Allan Davis is back racing at the top level of the sport since being cleared from allegations in Operación Puerto case last year. While it was rumoured for much of the past months that Davis was in talks with Discovery Channel, including being spotted at the Tour Down Under riding the team's issue Trek bike, it was not until the start of the Tour of California that anyone noticed Davis wearing the Discovery team kit.
And it was not until the first stage when Davis' form put him into the points leader jersey that the cat was really out of the bag. "I signed everything just a couple of weeks ago," Davis told Cyclingnews. "We just had to sort a few things out. I'm very happy to be here." Davis and Discovery finalised the arrangement so recently that he was not even able to attend the team training camp in Solvang. "I didn't go to training camp, we were still sorting things out... and then I came straight here from Spain."
Davis did not come to California without preparation, having raced well at the Tour Down Under for the composite Australian national team. "I did Tour Down Under. And then my family is in Spain, so I flew there to hang out with them and then came here. The Tour Down Under was my first race in a while and then I needed to work on leg speed, so I did a lot of motor pacing with Neil Stephens."
Davis finished stage 1 in California with two intermediate sprint wins and third on the day, which he had to do alone with the rest of the team stuck behind the crash on the day looking after race leader Levi Leipheimer. "I was on Haedo's wheel, and then Brownie and Hendo were up the road with O'Grady," Davis said about the stage finish. "I think I gave them too much of a head start and wasn't good enough to catch them. But I feel good in the sprints here, really good."
"This was my first race with the team, and I've only been on a few training rides. But I know some of the guys from racing over the years. I'm rooming with George this week, and I know him -- he's a really good guy and makes me feel welcome to the team. Johan [Bruyneel] is really good. I am impressed so far -- it's one hundred percent a professional team, and that is what I like about it."
When asked about the terms of his contract, such as how many years it is for, Davis chuckled and simply replied, "I'll let you know later!"