Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Armstrong & Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team begins 2005


Silver Spring, Md. - Discovery Communications announced today the beginning of a new era in professional cycling with the worldwide unveiling of the 2005 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team led by six-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong. Following a nine-year sponsorship agreement with the United States Postal Service, the only American professional cycling team ever to win the Tour de France begins its new global partnership with Discovery Communications.

"Today marks the beginning of a special partnership that allows Discovery to support an inspiring and dedicated group of athletes who represent the very best in sports," said Judith A. McHale, president and CEO, Discovery Communications, Inc. "Discovery looks forward to developing with Lance and the entire Team Discovery Channel the highest quality programs about healthy living, medical breakthroughs, the science of sports, and cancer survivorship and education for our worldwide audience."

Armstrong added, "We could not be more happy that our new title sponsor is Discovery Communications. Since its beginning almost 20 years ago, Discovery has represented the highest standards of quality media and the values that our international cycling team also represent -- the pursuit of excellence and a commitment to help people become better, smarter citizens."

Today's worldwide team presentation included an introduction of the 28 cyclists from 15 countries as well as the global unveiling of the new team uniform, bicycle and the 2005 race schedule.

The 2004 cycling season was historic as the team recorded its best season ever, winning 33 international events including Armstrong's record sixth consecutive Tour de France victory.

Led by Armstrong, the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team begins 2005 with an even stronger line up than last season. Key returning riders include: Portugal's Jose Azevedo, who finished fifth in the 2004 Tour de France; Classics team leader and key Tour de France performer George Hincapie of the United States; 14-time Tour de France finisher and Athens Olympic medalist Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia; and Max van Heeswijk of the Netherlands, who won a career best 13 races last season. One of cycling's most exciting young riders and potential Tour de France contender Yaroslav Popovych of the Ukraine and 2002 Tour of Italy champion Paolo Savoldelli are among several new riders joining the team in 2005.

Team Discovery Channel will begin the 2005 professional cycling season racing for the first time in Malaysia's Tour de Langkawi from January 28 to February 6 and the Doha Classic and Tour of Qatar from January 29 to February 4. The team will also participate in all three Grand Tours, which include the Tour de France, the Tour of Spain and Team Discovery Channel's first Tour of Italy.

Under the global partnership agreement, team leader Lance Armstrong serves as an on-air personality across Discovery's networks in the United States and around the world. Armstrong, already part of episodes on Discovery Channel's AMERICAN CHOPPER and TLC's OVERHAULIN', will also be featured in programming on Travel Channel and The Science Channel, as well as Discovery's television properties dedicated to health, wellness and fitness - Discovery Health Channel and FitTV.

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