On Monday, the Discovery Channel team wrapped up its training camp in Austin. During the one-week camp, 10 new team members were introduced to each other, returning racers, and management. During their stay, team members trained together, tested out new gear, and looked forward to next year. They even played paintball.
Unlike other pro teams, who subject their members deliberately to physical and mental duress through wilderness survival exercises and sleep deprivation in the name of teambuilding, Discovery took a more mild approach. New Discovery rider Danish national champion Brian Vandborg told The Daily Texan he did not miss the boot-camp-like experiences of his former Team CSC, "I'm over that now."
With new members like Ivan Basso and Levi Leipheimer, Discovery will resume its focus on the Tour de France in 2007. Both riders are successful veterans of previous editions of the Tour. After his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto, Basso sat out the second half of 2006 while Leipheimer was riding for the Gerolsteiner team. Last year, Leipheimer won the Dauphine Libere.
"We have a very strong team for the Tour, and obviously that's going to be the first goal of the season, and we'll have a chance to win it," said Janez Brajkovic to The Daily Texan. But Discovery will also contend the Vuelta a España. "My first goal is the Vuelta again," said Brajkovic, who wore leader's yellow jersey for two days in the 2006 Vuelta.
The team will meet again at another training camp in January in California. Some of its riders will continue to spend more time in the US when the team races both the Tour of California in February and the Tour of Georgia in April. A full schedule of the team's races is expected to be announced early in 2007.