By Tim Maloney, European Editor
29 year-old Colombian climbing sensation, winner of two stages in this year's Giro d'Italia Ivan Parra has inked a deal with French formation Cofidis for 2006. Belgian Rik Verbrugghe looks likely to join Cofidis next year. Although Quick.Step boss Patrick Lefévère was sorry to see the prologue specialist depart, he acknowledged that his team couldn't meet the rich Cofidis offer. Alain Deloeuil, Cofidis directeur sportif explained that "Rik is more than just a solid rider; he'll fit perfectly into our team structure."
Although talented Slovenian Tadej Valjavec has been courted by several teams for 2006, he has chosen to sign a two year deal with the Lampre squad, which will likely be called Lampre-Valsir next season. Valjavec will focus on the Tour de France in '06 as well as help Lampre leader Damiano Cunego in some races. Also joining Lampre in 2006 is emerging Italian sprinter Daniele Napolitano of Team LPR, who just won two stages at the Tour du Poitou Charentes et de la Vienne in France. Departing Lampre for LPR next season is Samuele Marzano.
Discovery Channel's 2006 line-up already has some changes in store, with Basque climber Egoi Martinez coming from Euskaltel and solid young Belgian classics man Jurgen Van Goolen from Quick.Step. Aussie Trent Lowe, a former junior MTB XC world champ currently riding the road for Jittery Joe's (Subaru-Gary Fisher on MTB) was a climbing revelation in the Tour de Georgia this spring, finishing 11th on GC and will join Discovery Channel next year. And peloton whispers say that Discovery Channel is also close to signing CSC's young Russian classics talent Vladimir Gusev.