Discovery gains two, loses 11, with more signings to come

The Discovery Channel team has undergone a massive turnover of personnel for 2007 with the...

The Discovery Channel team has undergone a massive turnover of personnel for 2007 with the revelation that 11 of the team's 27 riders will not be riding for the team next year.

Last weekend's Vuelta a Espana may have been the final ride in Disco strip for riders such as Jose Azevedo, Michael Barry, Manuel Beltran, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Roger Hammond, Leif Hoste, Benoit Joachim, Gennady Mikhaylov, Paolo Savoldelli, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Max Van Heeswijk, because they won't be lining up in 2007.

"After the retirement of Lance in 2005 it was natural for our team to begin making changes," explained Team Sports Director Johan Bruyneel. "The Team was built around Lance for seven years and as we move out of the Lance era we are now looking at new objectives in addition to the Tour de France. With those new objectives it is natural that we will make changes and that some riders will also look to make a change." Ekimov, who is retiring from the sport, will stay on at DCPCT as the outfit's Assistant Sports Director.

Joining Discovery's 2007 Pro Tour team is Slovenia's Uros Murn, who joins the team from Phonak, and Belgian Gianni Meersman, who will make his debut with the team. "Gianni will definitely need time to develop as a rider but we believe he has what it takes to be successful on the Pro Tour," explained Bruyneel.

The pair join Levi Leipheimer, Sergio Paulinho and Tomas Vaitkus who have already been signed to the 2007 squad, with more additions expected to be announced over coming weeks.

"I am very confident that we will continue to win big races in 2007 with our new roster," concluded Bruyneel.

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