By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
In a teleconference with media from around the world, Johan Bruyneel announced today that the nine-man Discovery Channel roster for the Tour de France will be led by American Levi Leipheimer.
Joining Leipheimer will be fellow American George Hincapie, along with Alberto Contador, Vladimir Gusev, Egoi Martinez, Benjamin Noval, Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych and Tomas Vaitkus.
Disco boss Bruyneel made it clear why he picked the team that he did. "I am going into this Tour de France with three goals in mind. First, and most important, I want to have Levi on the podium in Paris. He has been three times in the top-10 and I think he has the form and experience to be there."
"Beyond that, I would like to win at least one stage and also have Alberto Contador win the Best Young Rider competition. That is of course a lot to ask of one team but I think it is possible given the amount of talent we have on our roster. I would even say that a fourth goal is to wear the leaders jersey too, but for me that is not a major focus unless it is because we are wearing it into Paris."
Leipheimer was his usual calm and collected self, even when posed with the question about being the team leader for the team he started with back in the US Postal days. "It definitely does mean a lot to me. I started my career with this team and now to be back with riders like George it is a dream come true. And to go in as the leader of the classification is an honour for me."
Check back for Cyclingnews' full feature about Discovery Channel's pre-Tour press conference.