Bruyneel pleased at historic first win for Discovery Channel
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Although he followed George Hincapie's historic first win for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne via the Internet from his home office in Madrid, Discovery team director Johan Bruyneel was clearly delighted with the victory when Cyclingnews caught up with him post race. "Oh, it was good to see this win; you know, it's always nice to win in the early part of the season. Sometimes your team is strong, but the but victory doesn't come. At the Ruta del Sol, Max (Van Heeswijk) was close, and at Algarve, Jose (Chechu) Rubiera was seconds. But you also need a little bit of luck to win.
"Today's victory by George (Hincapie) in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne was excellent. It's a semi-classic race, but still this is a good impact. And for Discovery, our classics team won the first race so now we know we can count on them for the spring campaign. George's win will be good for everyone's motivation." Johan also had his marketing cap on when he said that, "Today is also an important win for our new sponsor Discovery Channel and it's a good feeling for everyone on the team to deliver this win to them. It's like we are saying 'hey here we are!' and we hope it's the start of many."
Bruyneel related his post-race telephone call with Hincapie to Cyclingnews, saying "George told me he felt very strong today; he felt Het Volk yesterday in his legs, but he was there at the end...it's like a game and he planned to put in one big attack and that strategy worked for him." When we commented on the powerful performance of Discovery's second-year pro Stijn Devolder, Bruyneel was pleased to tell us that, "Yes, Devolder is very impressive and is riding very strongly now. He'll need a little bit of luck but one day I know he has the legs to win a big one...he just needs to learn to manage his strength better."
Next up for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team are a series of races leading up to Milano-Sanremo on March 19th. In the 3 Days of West Flanders, the riders will be Fumi Beppu, Mike Creed, Ryder Hesjedal, Jason McCartney, Pat McCarty, Guennadi Mikhailov, Hayden Roulston and Jurgen Van Den Broeck. At Paris-Nice, the debut race of the ProTour and the 2005 debut of six-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, the Discovery Channel team will consist of Lance, Jose Azevedo, Manuel Beltran, Slava Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych, Jose Rubiera and Paolo Savoldelli. Discovery's classics team for Tireneo-Adriatico is Michael Barry, Volodymyr Bileka, Stijn Devolder, Roger Hammond, George Hincapie, Leif Hoste, Benoît Joachim, Pavel Padrnos and Max Van Heeswijk, which should be the same team that contests Milano-Sanremo, according to Bruyneel.