Discovery Channel's director sportif Johan Bruyneel and team leader Tom Danielson held a press conference call today as they prepared for the upcoming Tour of Spain - discussing the team's goals and the new role for Danielson as he takes the helm for the final grand tour of the season. Cyclingnews North American Editor Mark Zalewski was there to hear how Discovery's Vuelta preparation is coming along.
Back in January when Cyclingnews spoke with Bruyneel and Danielson at the team's presentation in Beverly Hills, it was already decided that Danielson would not race the Tour de France so that he could be the team leader for the Vuelta - both to better his seventh place from 2005 and to prepare for him to lead the team in the 2007 Tour de France. "When we decided Tom would be the leader for the Vuelta, which is something we decided in the beginning of the year, we decided Tom would focus on the Giro and the Vuelta - the two big races he did last year. I wanted to see improvement in both of them. After his seventh place last year in the Vuelta, he had all the reasons to be the team leader this year if everything went to plan. "
It is clear that Bruyneel has been working on long-term plans for Danielson, particularly trying to prevent developing him too quickly even though he started racing in Europe later in his career. "That is one of the reasons why I didn't want him to do [the Tour de France] this year," said Bruyneel. "His age is not a comparison of his experience as a professional rider, so in my point of view he is still a young rider. I thought it was better for him to do two big stage races in one year so that next year he can do the Tour."
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